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Cook family answers call to foster and adopt

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

The silver van pulls into the church parking lot and comes to rest. Eleven-year-old Makala climbs out of one of the sliding side doors while 17-year-old Ashley unfastens four-year-old Harmony from her car seat. Parents Roger and Shanell Cook close the van doors behind them and say “good morning” to their 20-year-old son Jackson, the couple’s sole biological child who drove separately. Harmony jumps into her father’s arms as the family of six is greeted with smiles, handshakes, and hugs from their fellow church members at Fellowship Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.

There are several more members of the Cook family to welcome on Sunday mornings than there used to be. Makala,

Harmony, and Ashley were fostered and later adopted by Roger and Shanell who have opened up their home—and their hearts—to boys and girls as a Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) foster care family.

“After our first call to BCH, Danetta Christmas came to our house,” Roger recounts of their initial inquiry with BCH’s foster care staff member. “She walked us through each step and held our hand that entire way.”

It has been more than four years since the couple finished foster care training and licensing through BCH. Completing the process enabled the Cooks to care for children who have been removed from their families, for their safety, by the NC Department of Social

Services (DSS). BCH case managers, like Danetta Christmas, serve as advocates for their foster families and work directly with the DSS social workers tasked with finding placements for the approximately 17,000 children in NC’s foster care system.

When the Cooks received a call in February 2018 about Makala, BCH a