Life at the Hill: Sarah’s Story

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Life at the Hill: Sarah’s Story

Sarah’s family has a legacy of foster care. Her grandparents fostered several children, and they adopted her uncle. Sarah felt called to continue the work, but after she and her husband married and had a daughter, they realized they didn’t know where to start. That’s when our Stillwaters partner Coyote Hill came along, and Sarah’s family has never looked back.

The Coyote Hill Difference

Sarah first heard about Coyote Hill at an informational meeting held at a local church. Disappointed by the state foster program, she attended hoping to find something better. Coyote Hill quickly won her over. More than just a foster licensing program, their model bases itself entirely around support and community for the foster families. The staff walk alongside each of their foster families, and there’s always someone to call for help.

“This is what I was missing when I went to the state meeting,” Sarah remembers thinking.

Sarah left the meeting knowing it was the perfect program for her family. She and her husband applied and completed their certification in the summer of 2021.

Life at the Hill

After fostering for nine months, Sarah and her husband were still thriving with Coyote Hill’s support. They’d already taken in multiple foster placements, and they were in the process of adopting two of them. During this time, their Coyote Hill advocate asked if Sarah and her family would be interested in living in the organization’s foster family neighborhood. It’s exactly what it sounds like: residences built for and occupied by foster families.

After considering it, Sarah and her husband decided to make the move. One of the requirements to live on-site is to have at least five foster children in the home. Sarah’s family quickly expanded from four children (three biological/adopted and one in foster care) to nine. It sounds overwhelming, and some days it feels that way, but Sarah says the abundant support makes it possible.


Every family at Coyote Hill has an advocate assigned to them who can help meet any of their needs. The resident foster parents also share a group message where anyone can ask for respite. But the residents and staff at Coyote Hill aren’t the only ones who support the families. Located near the town of Columbia, where the University of Missouri (Mizzou) is located, many residents and students dedicate their resources and time to the kids at the Hill. Local businesses often donate excess products, easing budgets for the large families. Many volunteers drive from Columbia to host after-school programs, maintain the property, or help with administrative work.

Coyote Hill and Mizzou have developed a close relationship over the years. Members of the Christian Campus House visit every other Monday to spend time with the kids and help keep the neighborhood clean. During the summer, the Mizzou Tigers host an all-day football camp with Coyote Hill for local children in foster care.

“Everyone steps up and helps each other out,” Sarah says. “There’s never a time when you just feel like it’s you or your family all alone.”


Children in crisis deserve a community where they thrive and feel at home. To accomplish this, volunteers host after-school programs such as movie nights, tutoring, sign language classes, and more. They also host equine therapy, where the children learn to care for their horses and take riding lessons. During the summer, older kids can work summer jobs, encouraging independence and responsibility. The lake on the property becomes the community hub in warm weather. The kids play water games while the parents get time to talk with each other on the beach.

Most importantly, activities at the Hill often happen in groups, which allows the kids to bond with each other. Sarah says these relationships become invaluable and help the children feel less alone.

“They’re walking alongside other kids knowing they’re going through the same thing,” Sarah says.

With robust support and a loving community, life at the Hill helps children in foster care and their foster families thrive. When you support For Others, you support families like Sarah’s, which allows them to foster more children for a long time. No child in foster care should go without a home where they can stay. If you’d like to be a part of our mission, make a gift by clicking the button below.

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