PARK CITY, Utah — Born and raised in Park City, siblings Amy, Kate, John, and Leigh Perry have strong ties throughout the community. The old adage, the more the merrier is making for a merrier Christmas this year as they just welcomed new family member Maria to the mix on Nov. 30.
Maria is seven years old and as an older adoption, is settling right in to her new home and family which is comprised of Amy as her mom, their two cats, and their beta fish. 2nd Chance Adoption has helped create this happy ending for a journey Maria’s been on towards a loving, caring, stable home.
“I knew from a very young age, 10 years old, that I was interested in adopting when I saw non-traditional family structures modeled in Park City.” Amy told TownLift. “That was something that I was going to do, no matter what. As an adult I became licensed to foster care in my home.”
For 474 days—yes, Perry counted up to the blessed event of Adoption Day—Maria lived in Perry’s house. The fourth time was the charm as Maria was Perry’s fourth placement of a foster child. Maria is a blood relative to an extended family member and Maria’s bio-Mom was not in a position to care for her. The first time she met Maria was the day after Maria’s father passed away. Perry’s house was the second foster home in which she’d spent time.
Perry shares these details not to sensationalize the story, merely to explain how mutually beneficial fostering can be for all stakeholders. She hopes their journey allows others who may not think this puzzle piece fits into their lives, could see some magic in their story, like how Perry was inspired at 10 years old.
Maria is a voracious reader, already into chapter books in the second grade, especially about dragons. She loves to draw and paint, and she has a thriving talent of taking things apart and knowing exactly how to put them back together. Mostly though, she enjoys her hobby of attending ballet classes.
“What I’ve learned from Northern Utah’s wonderful foster-parent community is that reunification is the goal. That means you and the team of government and nonprofit partners pursue reunification until it’s no longer an option,” Perry said. “I got into this because I wanted to be part of the solution.”
She gives credit to so many bio-moms out there who are struggling with life issues but just need help to overcome them. Lifelong friendships can be forged out of unpredictable dynamics as Amy keeps in close touch with some of the families she’s providing temporary assistance to.
“I think that any way that you can be involved is amazing. There are so many kids in the world that need love. If it can be foster care, as a foster parent, that’s amazing. If you’re open to adoption, whether it’s through foster care, private adoption or an international adoption, I fully support that. If you are not a person who feels ready to open your home to something like that, being involved in things that support people who do that is fantastic, like delivering a meal to a family once a week who is fostering is a such a huge blessing. Or, even once a month, like you get a group of four families together who can take a meal once a month to a family, it makes such a big difference. Care Portal is an organization that was started to help meet the needs of biological families who are at risk of their kids being put into foster care for physical reasons, not abuse per say, but not having a bed for the kid to sleep on for example. Or, simply a refrigerator that doesn’t hold its temperature so, maybe there’s not always food in the house, things like that. They help meet those physical needs to keep families together so that they don’t have to enter foster care.”
Mom Amy is an Executive Pastry Chef who now caters parties, she formerly worked in Las Vegas for Wolfgang Puck and the Wynn Hotel. She s putting her skills to good use as the whole family gathers this Christmas in Park City.
Looking to the future, Amy’s foster-parenting license is getting renewed this month. She acknowledges that Maria’s well-being is paramount, therefore additions to their home isn’t in her best interest right away. In the meantime Amy will continue to bake, both professionally and personally, like the cow-cupcakes and creative take on tacos pictured here. She says she’s open to fostering and adoption again.