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  • February 24, 2017
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  • One of Our Own Recognized
    Posted On: Dec 10, 2015

    You could forgive veteran SeaTac firefighter Dave Little and his wife for wanting a break from parenting after raising several kids.

    But his wife, an elementary school teacher in Pierce County, formed close ties with a then 7-year-old girl having lots of problems in the classroom and at home.

    Then the little girls' world completely crashed. Her mother was shot and killed by her boyfriend in their Lakewood home — in front of both her and her younger sister.

    When the Littles got word, they reached out to police and DSHS asking how they could help.

    The state allowed them to visit with the girls once a week.

    "And that once a week turned into twice a week, (which) turned into twice a week plus weekends," Dave said. "And at some point, their foster family was no longer able to care for them, so DSHS came to us and asked if we could take them."

    Dave and his wife had already raised several kids of their own; their son is now a high school senior.

    But after giving it a lot of thought, they agreed to adopt the girls, now 8 and 4.

    "They've gone through a very traumatic time, so we've been working with them through grief counseling," he said. "And, boy, it's been rough for these poor kids."

    The girls' grades have turned around and their behavior is improving since moving in with the Littles in August.

    "But it's a work in progress and it's going to take a while for them to get over the grief and tragedy of losing their mother," Dave said.

    Another big challenge was simply getting the girls all the things they need.

    They were taken from their home after the murder and put into foster care with only the clothes on their backs. The home was declared a crime scene and they were left with nothing else. They didn't have much to begin with.

    "So we started from scratch trying to get even clothing, shoes, bedding for them, not to mention counseling, tutoring and other things," Dave said.

    Luckily, they didn't have to do it alone.

    Dave and his wife turned to Wishing Well, a Pierce County-based agency that helps families get the essentials like clothes, but also far more — from mentoring and tutoring, to funding activities like gymnastics classes.

    "The girls had never even ridden a bike before," Dave said.

    That's why the stations of Bonneville Seattle team up with Treehouse for Kids to raise money for all of their services and the other agencies they support, to help families like the Littles.

    KIRO Radio hosts Holiday Magic

    And your help is critical, "because there are so many children out there in the foster care system right now that really don't have anything, and there are only so many actually willing or able to be foster parents. But the change is profound," Dave said. "We're seeing it before our eyes."


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