Foster children meet with siblings at Du Quoin State Fair - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Foster children meet with siblings at Du Quoin State Fair

(Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS) (Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS)

While many go to the Du Quoin State Fair for all of the attractions, to ride the rides or to enjoy all of that fair food, some people in attendance had a very different reason for coming.

Some made their way out to the fair to see their half-brothers and half-sisters, siblings they don't get to see very often.

The state of Illinois has a program set up for foster children to meet up once a year at the Du Quoin State Fair.

The Department of Children and Family Services present a picnic for foster families yearly at the fair. It's open to all families whose licenses are supervised by DCFS or by private agency foster care programs, as well as unlicensed relative caregivers.

"They enjoy coming to see all of their siblings that they haven't seen," foster mother Twila Donoho said. "They only get to see
them once a year because they are all over the state of Illinois."

Two foster children who spoke with Heartland News said it's been a while since they have seen their siblings. For some, it's been a year. For others, it's been many years - and some still have yet to meet.

For Takoda Coppedge, he was able to meet up with a couple of his eight siblings he has at the fair on Saturday, August 27.

"I'm just really happy," Coppedge said. "There's nothing that comes close to being able to see your family that you lost or people
that you care about that you don't ever get to see anymore."

For Coppedge, he was separated with his half-siblings nine years ago. Afterward, his regular visits with them decreased over time.

"I had sibling visits with them until some of them started getting adopted," Coppedge said. "Once they got adopted, I had no sibling visits with them until this (Du Quoin State Fair picnic) came along."

For Sydney Pecora, he is planning on meeting up with his brother for the first time in seven years. Pecora also has a handful of half-brothers and half-sisters, some of whom he has yet to meet.

"I've probably been in foster care since eight years old," Pecora said. "I have four other siblings. One of which I do not see at all. Another one was adopted and now I don't see him. But what really makes me happy is that I'm going to get to see another one of them real soon. I saw his foster parents today and I just can't wait to see him."

While Pecora was meeting up with his half-brother's foster parents, he said he made arrangements to meet his half-brother on Sunday. He has also set up opportunities to meet with him on a weekly basis.

"We had a really good talk," Pecora said. "They said he's doing real well. Ah man, it almost makes me want to cry. I haven't seen him in so long."

Donoho said this meeting every year has helped the children establish a connection between the children's foster parents, which in turn helps siblings be able to meet up and talk more often.

"Two of them we are going to keep in contact with," Donoho said. "We're going to have meeting days other times throughout the year. We've established that good relationship through coming to the fair."

Both Coppedge and Pecora are excited to see their siblings and are glad they get this opportunity.

"It's really important to me," Coppedge said. "If I don't get this then I don't get them and that just ruins part of my life."

While Donoho said it's sad they can't see each other more often, she is thankful the state makes arrangements for foster children to meet at the fair at least once a year.

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