When faith makes a family

Oklahoma churches, including many in Tulsa, are partnering with the state to meet the needs of children in foster care.



(page 2 of 3)

It takes a village

The Rev. Jim Moss of City Church grew up in OKDHS custody and champions the 111Project to the church’s congregation.“The (Laura Dester Children’s) Center is kind of one of those places that’s out of sight, out of mind,” says Ulysses Allen, OKDHS foster care recruitment shepherd. “My first time there I was shocked, and my heart was wrecked from the thought of these kids living in a center. It’s a nice building, a nice facility. But I thought, would I be a guy who could function in society if I had to come home to a room with a bed, with no mommy, no daddy, no aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no friends?”

Allen, who also is a Tulsa minister, helps guide 111Project families through the fostering process. He says the ratio of children to beds drove OKDHS to expand foster family recruitment efforts to the faith community.

The goal of OKDHS is to reunite children with their biological families, according to Allen.

“However, if they can’t be with their family, we feel they should be in a more structured or stable place — the next best place — without moving them,” he says.

Children are moved from family to family for myriad reasons, often because the foster parents feel they are not equipped to handle a certain child or behavioral issue, Allen says.

But with so many more children than families to foster them, it’s unlikely placement matches will improve, says Candace Morton, child share coordinator at Oklahoma United Methodist Circle of Care, a 111Project partner that supports foster families by providing them clothes and other resources.

“I would love to have a line of people saying, ‘I’ll take some children into my home’ the moment they come into care, but right now we’re going, ‘Here’s 67 of them. How many can you help us with?’” she says. “And that’s sickening, that we have that many kids waiting on a family to step up and take them and their siblings.”

While OKDHS prefers to keep siblings together, sibling groups are even more difficult to place in a home than individual children. Jonette Coquat, 33, has experienced firsthand the challenges of fostering a sibling group. She has been raising three siblings, ages 8, 4 and 3, for the past 3 1/2 years.

Coquat, who is single and works full time, says she intended to foster only one child. In 2009, she formed a relationship with a woman and her young son.

The boy was taken into OKDHS custody, and Coquat was identified as someone who might foster him. A social worker called to ask if she was willing.

“He was just the coolest kid I’d ever met,” she recalls. “I thought about it, and I said ‘yes.’”

About a month later, OKDHS notified Coquat it would only place the boy in a home with his little brother, who had been living with another caregiver. She didn’t hesitate to take in both boys.

However, Coquat soon received another surprise: the boys’ birth mother was pregnant, and OKDHS wanted to place the baby with her brothers. A few months after the baby girl was born, Coquat welcomed a third child into her home.

Coquat, who attends City Church, told her pastor what she was doing and soon found church members stepping up to provide the assistance she desperately needed.

“I’m a single parent who was planning on taking one child,” Coquat says. “I wanted to be faithful to take care of these children, but I knew I had to have support.”

And support is exactly what she has received from church members, she says.

One woman has brought the family a meal every week for the past two years. A young man takes the boys to get barber shop haircuts. Ladies come over to paint her daughter’s nails.

A hair stylist cuts Coquat’s hair free of charge. Another woman surprised the foster mom by offering to create a scrapbook for each child, which she then presented to the family. And other donations aren’t hard to come by either.

“I haven’t bought any clothes (for the kids) between the foster care association and the church’s hand-me-downs,” she says.

Church members also provide childcare while Coquat attends a Bible study, where she enjoys adult interaction. As an outpatient therapist who counsels children all day, Coquat says this is her most pressing need.

Not having a male presence in the home has been a challenge, but Coquat says several men from her church take her oldest son to little league practice and games. Four men in particular are on “speed dial” for times when the boy has behavioral problems that need a dad’s perspective. A few times, she has called one of the men to come over and take him for a walk.

“I don’t know what they’ve said — man-to-man-type stuff — (but) they’ve helped me,” says Coquat, who plans to care for the three children for as long as possible. “Once (her son) knew I had people on back up, things changed.”

Her biggest challenge, she admits, is asking church members for help. She typically is the one helping others. But the reality is, “I need the church to foster me as I foster these children,” she says.

The support Coquat has received is a great example of what the 111Project seeks to do — encourage the local church to serve as a support system for foster families within their congregations, Myers says. The concept smacks of the old adage, “it takes a village to raise a child.”

“What we see over and over is, if families aren’t supported, they burn out,” Morton says. “Our biggest obstacle to overcome is that burnout because once a family is committed (to fostering), we want to keep them going. If we can build on the number of families we have instead of replacing those that we’ve lost, we’re going to have enough families.”

Coquat says the 111Project is important because it communicates that church members should serve where their talents lie, whether that is as a foster parent or in a support role. And even the little things people do help her more than they know.

“If I didn’t have that help … if I didn’t have the church, I’d tell people, ‘Huh-uh. It’s too hard, don’t do it,’” she says. “I can’t do it without the church.”

Including Coquat, approximately four families of City Church’s 300 or so members are somewhere in the process of fostering or adopting through OKDHS, says the Rev. Jim Moss, community pastor. For every one family, several have stepped up to provide support.

Moss says he believes in the mission of the 111Project because of his personal experience growing up in OKDHS custody. Moss never met his father, and because his mother could not care for him, he entered the foster care system at 5 months old.

After an initial placement with the Moss family, he went back and forth between his biological mother and the Mosses for several years. He stayed briefly at a children’s shelter when his mother kidnapped him in fourth grade, moving him from Woodward to Enid. When he was 8 or 9, the Moss family obtained his permanent guardianship, which Moss says “gave me a lot of peace.”

“Being on both sides of this, it works because it’s not our idea, it’s God’s idea, that these kids would grow up in a family and in a home,” he says.

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October 2019

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Cost: $ 6 - $ 20

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Endangered Ark Foundation
2657 E 2070 Rd
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Cost: $1,250

Where:
Southern Hills Country Club
2636 E. 61st St.
Tulsa, OK  74136
View map »


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Contact Name: Scarlet Henley
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View map »


Telephone: 918-813-6514
Website »

More information

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Show Less...

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Cost: 0.00

Where:
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4145 E 21st St,
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View map »


Sponsor: Arabian Horse Association
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Contact Name: Kelsey Berglund
Website »

More information

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Cost: $ 6 - $ 20

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2657 E 2070 Rd
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View map »


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Telephone: 580-317-8470
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More information

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Cost: $1,250

Where:
Southern Hills Country Club
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View map »


Sponsor: Abersons
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Contact Name: Scarlet Henley
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Cost: $15

Where:
Studio K (Tulsa) and Zarrow Studio (Broken Arrow(
1212 E 45th Place
Tulsa, OK  74105
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Ballet
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Website »

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Cost: 25.00

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Cost: Varies

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300 Aquarium Drive
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Sponsor: Oklahoma Aquarium
Telephone: 918-528-1507
Contact Name: Liz Medrano
Website »

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Cost: 109

Where:
THE DANCE PLACE
3310 WEST 42ND PLACE
TULSA, OK  74107
View map »


Telephone: 918-813-6514
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Tulsa, OK  74114
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Seymour, a nerdy worker at a run-down florist is romantically pining for a seemingly unattainable beauty named Audrey, when he discovers an unusual plant that only thrives when it is fed human...

Cost: $15-$25

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 East Second Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa Project Theatre
Telephone: 918-596-7122
Contact Name: Amber Whitlatch
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The annual US National Arabian & Half Arabian Horse Show returns to Tulsa. You will be able to see over 1700 Arabian and Half Arabian horses competing in many divisions, including Breeding/In Hand...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Tulsa State Fairgrounds
4145 E 21st St,
Tulsa, OK  74114
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Sponsor: Arabian Horse Association
Telephone: 303-6964500
Contact Name: Kelsey Berglund
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The Tulsa Walk to Defeat ALS is the signature fundraising event for The ALS Association Oklahoma. The Walk to Defeat ALS is the #1 way to unite and fundraise for those living with ALS. Each...

Cost: Free

Where:
Guthrie Green
111 East M.B. Brady Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Telephone: 202-464-8617

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Together OSU Medicine and OSU Medical Center have built a fully comprehensive health care team to serve families in Tulsa and the surrounding areas. One of those levels of expertise is...

Cost: Free

Where:
OSU Medical Center North Lobby
744 W. Ninth St.
Tulsa, OK
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Sponsor: OSU Medicine

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 Harvest Hayday!  October 26, from 11am - 2pm.  Come celebrate the arrival of fall!  With hayrides, games, trunk or treating, emergency vehicles, a petting zoo, and more, ...

Cost: Free, except food items for purchase from Food Trucks

Where:
Asbury UMC
6767 S. Mingo Rd
Tulsa, OK  74133
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Sponsor: Asbury UMC
Telephone: 918-392-1165
Contact Name: Kim Broadhurst
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Hello, Friends!   Fall is in the air! We are excited to present the 5th Annual Hugo Pumpkin Festival, a fun-filled event featuring a variety of entertaining activities for the whole family....

Cost: $ 6 - $ 20

Where:
Endangered Ark Foundation
2657 E 2070 Rd
Hugo, OK  74743
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Sponsor: Endangered Ark Foundation
Telephone: 580-317-8470
Contact Name: Emily
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Outdoor All Day Family Friendly Halloween Event 

Cost: $0-$10.00

Where:
Downtown Wagoner
Main Street
Wagoner
Wagoner, OK  74467
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Sponsor: Wagoner Main Street
Telephone: 918-577-1772
Contact Name: Samantha Call
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Buy a Care Card and save up to 20% at more than 200 local stores and restaurants October 25 – November 3, 2018. With Care Card, you’re saving more than money – you’re saving lives....

Cost: $60

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: Family & Children's Services
Telephone: 918-560-1115
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Abersons presents Pink Ribbon -- an exclusive, high-fashion fundraiser featuring a runway show by one of the world's hottest designers. Cocktails 6 p.m. | Dinner & Live Auction 7...

Cost: $1,250

Where:
Southern Hills Country Club
2636 E. 61st St.
Tulsa, OK  74136
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Sponsor: Abersons
Telephone: 918-834-7200
Contact Name: Scarlet Henley
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Go into the woods and experience the return of this fantastic family production with performances in both Tulsa and Broken Arrow. Tulsa Ballet's Hardesty Family Foundation Children's...

Cost: $15

Where:
Studio K (Tulsa) and Zarrow Studio (Broken Arrow(
1212 E 45th Place
Tulsa, OK  74105
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Sponsor: Tulsa Ballet
Telephone: 918-749-6006
Contact Name: Dan
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America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
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Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
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Mummies of all ages! Bring your goblins, witches, and super heroes to our fun and food filled Halloween Dance! Saturday, October 26th, 2019 6-9 pm $5 per person (check or cash)  

Cost: $5 per person

Where:
Bixby Community Center
211 N Cabaniss Ave
Bixby , OK  74008
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Sponsor: Bixby Community Center
Telephone: 918-366-4841
Contact Name: Victoria Smith

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For the first time, the Oklahoma Aquarium will host seven nights of indoor trick-or-treating for kids of all ages from Friday, October 25 to Thursday, October 31! Guests can follow the...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Drive
Jenks, OK  74107
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Sponsor: Oklahoma Aquarium
Telephone: 918-528-1507
Contact Name: Liz Medrano
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Originally from West Africa, Kizomba is a partner dance that is a sexy addition to any Latin dance party. It is the fastest Latin growing dance in the U.S. Come and learn the basics plus a few more...

Cost: 109

Where:
THE DANCE PLACE
3310 WEST 42ND PLACE
TULSA, OK  74107
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Telephone: 918-813-6514
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Tulsa Metro Sound Chorus presents: "As Seen on TMS". A comedic review which will keep you in stitches, including music of Iconic Women of Song . Come enjoy the music of Karen Carpenter,...

Cost: 15.00

Where:
Memorial High School
5840 S Hudson Ave,
Tulsa, OK  74135
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Sponsor: Tulsa Metro Sound
Telephone: 918-352-6091
Contact Name: Marlys Fallen
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Choral Music from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Down Under

Cost: $20

Where:
Cascia Hall
2520 S Yorktown Ave
Tulsa, OK  74114
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Sponsor: Tulsa Chorale
Telephone: 918-625-1527
Contact Name: Anastasia Howard
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Are you looking for a night of Halloween hilarity, ghoulish guffaws, and spooky silliness? Then come and see the spirited stylings of Laughing Matter… Oklahoma’s longest-running...

Cost: $8.00 ($4.00 for children under 12)

Where:
pH Community House
306 S Phoenix Ave
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Laughing Matter Improv
Contact Name: Jerry Henderson
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Luchadores go head to head in the ring to see who really is The Great Pumpkin!

Cost: Free

Where:
Elote Cafe & Catering
514 S Boston Ave
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Elote Cafe & Catering
Telephone: 918-582-1403
Contact Name: Elote Cafe & Catering
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Seymour, a nerdy worker at a run-down florist is romantically pining for a seemingly unattainable beauty named Audrey, when he discovers an unusual plant that only thrives when it is fed human...

Cost: $15-$25

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 East Second Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa Project Theatre
Telephone: 918-596-7122
Contact Name: Amber Whitlatch
Website »

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No tricks, just treats! Gathering Place is casting a spell for all not-so-scary ghosts and ghouls to make their way to the park for sweets and treats. Meet us on Spooky Street for a kid-friendly,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gathering Place
2650 S. John Williams Way E.
Tulsa, OK  74114
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What's New


McDazzle Fun Ball

“Lighting the Path of Hope” benefitted Ronald McDonald House, a temporary home for families of critically ill or injured patients

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Try not to smile at this happy puppy painting...

Talitha B. Jacobs' art will be featured at Utica Square’s Art in the Square from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Oct. 5.

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2 new local music releases for your listening pleasure

Brad James Band, “At Fellowship Hall” and Weston Horn and the Hush, “Vol. II: Don’t Give Up”

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3 new downtown restaurants you need to try

These three downtown restaurants are all waiting for you and, with one bite, will secure your place “in the know” about the Tulsa food scene.

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Grandma’s Pure and Natural is a local soap success

In 2002, Tulsa-based Remwood Products created a line of natural soaps and detergents which is safe for sensitive skin.

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