Livingston Family Story

Livingston Family Story

A Legacy of Caring for Children Passed On

It was a pleasure to hear the enthusiasm in Helen Livingston’s voice when she spoke about how much both she and her husband Steve enjoy welcoming children into their home. They have a long history with adoption and foster parenting. 35 years ago she fostered and later adopted her son Adam and then adopted another son Will. Helen and Steve have now come full circle.

After raising their own children and later housing eleven foreign exchange students over the years, the Livingstons both agreed it was time to take a break from caretaking. Helen was entering retirement and they planned to travel and simply enjoy these years. Yet, something was missing and they began to miss children in their home. Exploring options, it became clear to them that respite care might be the perfect answer. It allowed time for travel and personal projects, as well as the joy that comes from providing a safe and fun environment for children to lay their heads.

Cornerstones of Care respite providers go through a similar licensing and training process as traditional foster parents. The difference is as respite providers you choose when your schedule allows you to open your home to children for a day, a weekend, or longer. Your willingness to provide a safe environment, a listening ear and fun activities assures the children in your care that they are safe and welcome in your home.

Helen’s greatest desire is to bring a smile to the faces of the children in their care. Steve and Helen strive to give positive energy and always let them know “You are so welcome here.”

Steve and Helen have provided respite care for many children at this point. They set age limits from the beginning, preferring older youth. Steve and Helen put a lot of time and thought in exploring fun activities alongside their visitors. They seek out individual interests to help them plan for a respite stay.

Over the years they’ve enjoyed swimming, going to drive-in movies, hiking, cooking and attending festivals. Their adventurous spirits have led them to a variety of different places including - the Nelson Atkins Museum, Watts Mill Park, several nature centers and renting a pontoon boat on Longview Lake. While in their care Helen wants children to enjoy “just being kids”.

Steve and Helen’s love of caring for children in need was passed down to their son Will. Will and his wife, Danielle, recently became the first Zoom adoption in the Kansas City area after fostering a young boy for over two years. And their legacy doesn’t stop there. Helen and Steve provided respite care for a teen sibling group who needed a permanent home. Unable to provide it themselves, Will and Danielle agreed to take the siblings into their home, adding two more to their family of three.

Helen describes respite care as, “Being there to help in the short run.” Laughing, she added, “We’re not the best foster parents ever, we’re just a home where kids are welcome.” Helen and Steve believe life is an adventure and caring for youth is deeply gratifying. They look forward to welcoming more children to their home and highly recommend becoming respite providers.

Learn more about becoming a foster parent.