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Meet the Cutchen-Leeman Family!

We never give up on each other!

By blending seven adopted children in with their four birth children, Tammy Cutchen and Stephen Leeman have assembled a diverse and lively family. Asked what motivated the couple to adopt, Tammy responds, “I always wanted to do foster care, and adoption just seemed to naturally follow.” Five of the adopted children came first as foster placements, one was adopted internationally from Africa, and one came through a private adoption arrangement. The Cutchen-Leemans proudly introduce their youngsters. The original four are Courtney, Chelsea, Sam, and Gabrielle. Artistic Courtney likes yoga, exercise, and hiking. Quiet Chelsea enjoys running and traveling. Outgoing Sam can often be found rock climbing. Nurturing Gabrielle spends her time traveling and caring for animals. Three of the adopted children are now young adults. Matthew, age 26, loves to travel and to venture into the great outdoors. Amethyst, age 23, is hard-working and loves experiencing new situations. Christopher, age 22, is known for his keen sense of humor and his interest in gaming. Three teens and one preschooler keep the household abuzz with various activities. The teens are: 15-year-old Noah, a quiet boy who enjoys gaming and fishing; outgoing Wahid, age 14, who participates in sports; and Gracey, an enthusiastic 13-year-old who likes reading and movies. Youngest son Cruz, age 3, is an active, fun-loving, smart little tyke who thrives on all the attention he receives from his older siblings. On their foster care application, Stephen and Tammy had indicated their openness to older children, children of diverse ethnicities, and children with disabilities. Asked if there was any significance about these choices, they state, “No...these were all children who needed a family.” Several post adoption supports have helped to address children’s developmental needs. Family counseling was also useful. “It has enabled us to grow and connect as such a large family and to accept everyone’s challenges.” Tammy reports that their most useful post adoption services came via the family’s participation in a study with Casey Family Services. This provided continue case work support. Tammy and Stephen are thankful for governmental programs that help them attend to the needs of their large family. They particularly appreciate the Adoption Assistance monthly stipends and the Federal Adoption Tax Credit. If they could offer policy makers a couple of suggestions for improvement, the Cutchen-Leemans would ask for more caseworkers and more mental health services available for the children.
This family’s greatest strengths are their sense of humor and their tenacity (“We never give up on each other.”). As to their advice to others considering adoption from foster care, Stephen and Tammy agree, “Be non-judgmental. Embrace the birth family if the situation is appropriate. Adoption is an incredible joyful journey!”