News - Fervent for Family
Fervent for FamilyBy Rachel Heston-Davis
“Family” is always on Katie (Rathgeb ’05) Myette’s mind, and not just her own family either—although five children and a spouse are surely enough to keep a mind occupied.
She prays for and serves 210 foster and adoptive families in The Restore Network, a nonprofit that recruits Christian households to serve as foster families, adoptive families and support teams to foster children in Illinois. The organization operates in four southern Illinois counties with Katie as executive director.
Illinois Ranks Lowest Meeting Overwhelming Need
A former elementary school teacher, Katie and her husband Ben ’05 helped start The Restore Network in 2009 in response to the overwhelming needs for more foster families in their area. When it comes to housing foster children in a timely manner, Illinois ranks last among all states; nearly 40 percent of Illinois foster children will shuffle between four or more households.
“The Restore Network is committed to changing the culture of foster care in Illinois,” Katie says.
Inspired to Care for the Vulnerable
Katie recalls when she, Ben and others in her church initiated the Restore Network.
“We were convinced that scripture was clear that the church was to care for the vulnerable. As we looked around us, we were convicted that the needs were tremendous.”
From this conviction grew a passion to adopt children into their own growing family. The Myettes are now a busy, self-described “loud” family of seven.
Welcoming the vulnerable brings challenges, Katie admits. She and Ben parent their children through emotional ups and downs borne of childhood trauma. Though difficult, Katie asserts the work is necessary and rewarding.
Meant for This
She believes God prepared her for this work long before she married Ben and before she thought of having children. While on mission trips to underprivileged areas of the world as a teen, Katie recalls being “filled with a burden for vulnerable children.” It happened again when Katie met traumatized children in her first student teaching assignment through G.U.
Also at G.U., Katie developed a mindset that would prove invaluable to her future work with Restore Network: engaging as a lifelong learner. Meeting the needs of children in foster care is complicated and ever-changing, Katie says. “Restore Network will never ‘arrive.’ We will always be changing, improving and learning how to best serve children in foster care.”
Working to support families in crisis can seem like a case of the harvest being large and the workers being few. Katie often feels the weight of a world with too much hurt. She leans hard on Christ in those moments. “We remember how He has worked in mighty ways for vulnerable children and families in the past, and we trust that He is working now—even when we can’t see it,” she affirms.
A version of this story originally appeared in the Summer 2019 RECORD.
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