Every mother of the 400,000+ children in foster care, is a woman with a personal story.
Sadly their own story often includes layers of abuse, abandonment, and neglect.
Patty’s Hope provides practical help, hope, and healing for biological mothers of children in foster care. We partner with local organizations and the Christian community to implement a holistic, individualized program with a focus on four areas: Safe Housing, Trauma Recovery, Life Skills, and Healthy Community. Through this trauma-focused program, Patty’s Hope aims to honor Jesus by seeing clients transformed mentally, physically, and spiritually; leading to lifelong health and stability.
For every biological mother of a child in foster care to have the opportunity to encounter God’s love, experience deep healing, and have a healthy relationship with their child.
how it began
Patty grew up in and out of foster care and experienced childhood trauma. She became pregnant prior to aging out of care but quickly lost custody of her child, who was later adopted by another family. She went on to birth three more children all who eventually ended up in foster care or with other people. Her ability to make good decisions and get ahead based on her past was almost impossible; she struggled her way forward stuffing down the trauma of her childhood and the pain and loss of losing her children.
She became pregnant again, and in July of 2012, Patty gave birth to her 5th child, a baby girl.
With the birth of her fifth child came the hope that she was getting another chance to be the mom she always wanted to be. But at two days old her baby girl was removed straight from the hospital by DSS due to Patty's history and placed in foster care...with Pete and Leila Gunning
Pete & Leila's Story
After struggling with infertility, the Gunning's began researching the possibility of adoption. Through that process, they learned of the need for foster parents and pursued becoming an open foster home.
In July of 2012, Pete and Leila took in their very first placement, Patty’s little girl. They were overjoyed to finally be parents (even if only for a little while). At this stage the Gunning's could not understand how anyone could have their baby removed and it was hard not to judge the biological mothers. But as the weeks went by God truly softened their hearts for Patty and women in similar situations.
Seven weeks later the courts returned the baby to Patty. Pete and Leila felt a deep calling to offer Patty help and support. So, that is what they did. In the process they began to ask questions and hear the story behind Patty's life.
For the next 8 months Pete and Leila spent time investing in Patty, moving her to safe housing, connecting her to healthy, caring people, listening, loving, offering grace, support and friendship she had simply never had. Days before Patty was scheduled to start a new job, she came down with the flu and 24 hours later she passed away. Pete and Leila were devastated, but God knew that was not the end of Patty’s Story.
The Story of Patty's Hope
Patty left Pete and Leila with a deep commitment to hear the stories behind each birth mother, and to fight for these mothers. Patty was just the first of several women that Pete and Leila have had the opportunity to work with. Each mother has been a learning experience in which they have had their eyes opened to the needs of women in similar situations as Patty. Through these experiences and with the help of friends, family, and area professionals, Patty's Hope was born.
Patty's Hope is a 501©3 non-profit based in Richmond Virginia. All board members and staff profess to be Bible believing, Gospel-centered Christians who trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Be part of the story
We would like to thank and acknowledge the following organizations for their partnership and generosity towards Pattys Hope and being part of the story.
Learn more about foster care. Get involved in making our programs possible. Join us as we tackle the issues faced by our clients.