Samuel and Marnie Bodapaty, their daughter, Elise, and three foster children – two boys about 18 months old and a 7-week old sister of one of the boys – live on a side street off Maple Road in Amherst.
Dad was once a journalist with the Financial Press in his native India and a former M&T Bank financial analyst who for the last 2½ years has owned his own global commodities trading company. He works from home. Mom works part-time as an audiologist in the Buffalo Veterans Administration Medical Center. They regularly attend the Chapel at CrossPoint in Getzville.
“We had talked about adopting a child from India,” Samuel Bodapaty said, “and had been looking into it” when church leaders announced on Father’s Day two years ago that a coalition of churches was starting the Every Child Ministry to encourage foster parenting and adoption. “We thought about rather than adopting from India, we would adopt from our own community.”
The couple said they had no idea until learning more about foster parenting that the need was so great.
“We knew it would be a lot of training and a lot of paperwork, but we had to do it,” Marnie Bodapaty said.
They went through their training last year. The boys were placed with them last summer, and the baby girl more recently.
Elise, 7, enjoys being a big sister, especially to the new baby. “When she gets home from school, she wants to sit on the couch and hold her,” her mother said. “She wants to change her diapers and feed her.”
The couple has gotten to know the birth mother of the siblings, and, when they take them to Gateway-Longview for a visit, make sure they dress them in clothing that the biological mom has given to her children.
One of the church pastors recently joked to him, “Just because you’re part of Every Child doesn’t mean you have to adopt or foster every child; let others do it, too.”
The joke, he said, underlines how seriously the two parents see their responsibility toward the region’s most vulnerable children.
“At this point, it’s really not about us,” said his wife. “It’s about them.”
– Scott Scanlon