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Meet the Phillips Family

The Phillips Family, Alaska

They share a strong bond and truly care for each other.

Marianke and Jon Phillips praise Alaska’s foster care and adoption system for granting them the joy of parenthood after eight years of marriage. Their three children, Jake, Kayla, and Kenny, are grateful for the forever family that adoption has given them.

The Phillips’s adopted Jake and Kayla, a brother and sister, when they were 8 and 6 years of age. The two had been in foster care the previous 3 1/3 years – more than half of Kayla’s life!

Almost two years later, when Marianke and Jon deemed that Jake and Kayla were adequately stabilized, they decided to add a third child to the household. Kenny arrived at age 3, and his adoption was finalized at age 4.

The Phillips’s list several factors that motivated them to adopt older children from foster care, including a long-held desire to adopt, fertility issues, an awareness of children in need, and the AdoptUSKids website. They were open to older children, siblings, children of different ethnicities, and children experiencing disabilities.

Now ages 15, 12, and 7, Jake, Kayla, and Kenny have all made “amazing strides” since joining the Phillips household. Despite the occasional normal sibling spats, they share a strong bond and truly care for each other. They are having fun exploring various activities. All three participate in a Faith Based scouting organization, in which mom and dad serve in leadership roles.

A Starwars aficionado, Jake keeps active with soccer, wrestling, cross country skiing, and Trail Life USA. Kayla likes to sing, write letters, cross country ski, and participate in American Heritage Girls. Described by his mom as “one ball of energy,” Kenny thrives on activities through Paw Patrol, and Trail Life US.A.

As a family, the five Phillips’s enjoy camping, hiking, kayaking, cross-country skiing, sledding, and occasional evenings out for dinner or bowling.

It is their children’s positive traits and values, rather than accomplishments and activities, which make their parents glow with pride. Jake has grown into a likeable and helpful young man with good leadership skills. With her ever-present smile, Kayla likes to comfort and encourage others. Kenny also enjoys helping others, often seeking to assist his dad with outdoor tasks involving gardening and caring for the family’s chickens.

In addition to the myriad responsibilities involved in raising a young family, Marianke and Jon have diligently sought services to help their children develop their full potential. All three youngsters have been negatively affected by prenatal alcohol or drug exposure, and some also endured earlier childhood trauma. The Phillips’s collaborated with their school district to obtain IEP’s (Individualized Educational Plans), and they sought recommended occupational and physical therapies through Playful Learning Pediatric Therapy (“A great clinic.”)

Overall the Phillips’s have been pleased with the adoption process. They received encouragement and support through PARKA (Preparation for Adoption Readiness for Kids in Alaska), and also from their friends and church community.