Josh and Brittany McCaskey came on staff in the spring of 2018, and now serve as Home Parents in The Petersheim Home. Both of them share the story of how God called them to serve the children of Coyote Hill.
Brittany: I grew up in northeast Missouri. My mom and stepdad became foster parents when I was in 7th grade and continued up through my college years. They stopped when they adopted my youngest brother and sister. It was because of my parents that I knew I wanted to help others in some way. I studied psychology at Dallas Christian College. While there, I began working with single parents and their children. I later felt called to move to Honduras. I worked with an organization that had a children’s home and rehabilitation center. I taught elementary school at the children’s home and tutored math at all grade levels. I unexpectedly had to move back to Missouri when my dad passed away. After moving back, I spent two years working at a therapeutic day school that used TBRI® and Theraplay with the students. During this time, I met Josh.
Josh: I grew up in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. I was raised in a Christian home and grew up heavily involved in sports and my church. After graduating college, I came to MU and worked as a graduate assistant football coach. This is where I met Dan Hopkins, the soon-to-be husband of Kari Hopkins, who has worked for Coyote Hill for many years. As my wedding gift, I made a donation to Coyote Hill. (I remember all of the kids at their wedding reception having a great time dancing!) As a follow-up to that donation, I received Coyote Hill e-mail updates. I thought it sounded like a cool place, but had no idea I would someday work there.
After Brittany and I were married in March of 2017, I began questioning my career path, wishing I could get more involved in ministry. As I reflected on what I enjoyed most about every job I had up to that point in life, I came to the realization that more than anything else, I loved working with kids and encouraging them through the love of Jesus. Brittany and I started the process of becoming foster parents. It was then that we saw an opening at Coyote Hill for the Home Parent position.
Brittany: While Josh and I were engaged, I met Dan and Kari. Kari told me all about Coyote Hill and I thought it was an amazing place. Later, I looked up Coyote Hill and followed them on Facebook. After we were married, I saw a Facebook post saying that Coyote Hill needed Home Parents. I asked Josh if he would ever be interested in doing something like this and he just said “maybe.” The post kept coming back up, so I talked with Josh again about it. (We had only been married five months at this point.) We decided to look into it. We talked with Bill and Amy on the phone then came for a visit. We thought that Coyote Hill was amazing. It felt like an oasis for kids. After we left, we were excited, but we allowed fear to creep in and decided it wasn’t the right time. As the months went on, Coyote Hill kept coming up in our minds and hearts. We contacted Amy again, came back for another visit, and decided this is exactly what we are supposed to do. We absolutely love being here! Working with kids and seeing positive changes in them makes every struggle worth it.
Josh: Some children in our home have dealt with such a rough past, we wonder how in the world we can get through to them. Brittany and I keep this in mind, “We will love them until we can’t.” We are going to do everything in our power to be creative, loving, forgiving and graceful until God shows us that we can’t anymore. Coyote Hill has supported and helped us be creative in implementing methods to create the best environment for our kids to be successful. As we grew and learned, we became better and better at meeting the needs of our most challenging kids. We had two young boys join us who needed a lot of love, patience, and time. They didn’t know how to bathe, use utensils or how to communicate their emotions without hitting and grunting. One day at a time, we watched as a safe, loving and nurturing environment allowed space for them to settle down, learn and grow. They are now doing very well in our home and we love to step back and see what great progress they have made. We believe that Coyote Hill gives our children a fighting chance to change the trajectory of their lives for good and break generational patterns. None of this happens without God’s hand being all over it. He sustains us and gives us the endurance, patience and wisdom we need to love these kiddos through all of their toughest days. On the flip side, we feel and see their joy as they grow and succeed!