Extending a helping hand to children has been a way of life for Courtney and Jeff Knowles. As pee-wee sports coaches, they were sensitive to children from single parent families who might need extra attention. At church, they worked with teenagers and in the nursery. Though they had two biological children, the Knowles felt called to love other children through fostering or adoption.
“I was determined that this was the right path for us,” Courtney explains. She wasted no time and immediately reached out to Child Protective Services, hoping to make a difference. Before long, a caseworker, understanding their situation, recommended Upbring. Curious and hopeful, Courtney and Jeff decided to attend an informational meeting at Upbring’s Fort Worth office. With a deep sense of certainty, Courtney thought, “This is exactly where we’re supposed to be.”
Throughout their fostering journey from 2014 to 2021, the Knowles’ primarily opened their hearts and home to infants and toddlers with diverse needs including conditions ranging from heart conditions to autism to fetal alcohol syndrome, as well as siblings who needed a safe haven. Courtney fondly recalls the first child they welcomed—an adorable six-month-old boy rescued from a drug house during a police raid. “He clung to me like a little baby koala bear to his mom,” she remembers. However, as time went on, they faced the reality that reunification was always the ultimate goal. When the young boy was reunited with his grandfather, the emotional impact took them by surprise. “We cried,” Courtney reveals. “We didn’t know it was going to be that hard.”
The Knowles foster journey led them to adopting three precious children, all newborns—starting a new chapter of love and stability Avery, now seven years old, and Adrian, six years old, were previously exposed to illegal drug environments, making their transition to a nurturing home more crucial. Additionally, Stella, born prematurely at 35 weeks, underwent a challenging journey, including a drug-induced coma and underwent reconstructive open-heart surgery. Today, at the age of two and a half, Courtney beams with pride as she describes Stella’s vibrant personality, exclaiming “She’s ridiculously intelligent and bossy as the day is long.”
Courtney’s advice to people considering fostering: have a good support system. She’s grateful for the support of her mother, who lives nearby, as well as from Upbring and Family Services Worker, Kim Caldwell, who remains a friend of the family.
Taking a moment to reflect on the profound impact their adopted children have had on their lives, Courtney says, “Our children understand that their biological parents made regrettable choices that led to their current circumstances. However, they also recognize that their journey has brought them to a place that aligns with a higher purpose, guided by the will of God.” It is through this perspective that Courtney finds solace and hope, knowing that their children have found a loving and nurturing home where they are meant to be.
Thanks to your support, we have the privilege of guiding foster parents like the Knowles through their journey — so they can provide safe, loving homes for Texas children in need. To learn more, visit Upbring.org/FosterInTexas.