February 14th was a whole lot more special for one household in Jeanette, Pennsylvania, as it’s now become another sort of holiday to commemorate the day the Parkes became a family.
Trudy Parke and her wife Jennifer Riedel-Parke have been parents to many foster kids over the years, but this Valentine’s Day was when they finally decided to make an arrangement permanent. Since August of 2016, the two had been fostering four siblings. Though they initially thought the arrangement would be temporary, the children’s birth parents ended up terminating their rights to parentage, a duty the Parkes were more than happy to take up in their stead.
“Today is a trifecta,” said Trudy. “It’s Ash Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, and Adopt Some Kids Day.” Having always wanted a family of their own, the couple and their friends and family were overjoyed once the final hearing ended with Westmoreland County Senior Judge John Driscoll. There was even a cake donated by the local JessB Bakes bakery, with the message “Even Superman was Adopted” written in icing.
This became something of a family motto for the six, as their first pictures together after being legally recognized as a family had them all wearing shirts featuring the quote and Clark Kent glasses. The kids, Kyle, Jazz, Bethann, and Jonathan, all seem happy about the arrangement, having had ample time to adjust to the idea their stay with the Parkes would be permanent and coming to love their new mothers.
Even though they now have four children to care for permanently, the Parkes say they would be open to inviting even more foster kids to come live with them at some point in the future. With both big hearts and a big house, they hope to do as much good for children in need as they can by offering a nurturing, loving, and supportive environment for as long as needed.