Building a family with love

Hearts Without Homes

Erie residents Yusuf Mateen and Joey Cooper were looking to start a family, but options like surrogacy were not in reach.

On an autumn evening, with the aroma of dinner in the air, Mateen said, “Just finding other ways to have a child and it never worked out; and then, this situation presented itself”. The situation was three siblings needing a loving home.

Their youngest daughter, Mary, said, “Every kid needs help in their life. They don’t have to know everything. They just need help.”

In May, after a period of foster care, nine-year-old Mary said she got what she needed–along with her 10-year-old sister, Camilla, and five-year-old brother, Anthony. 

“I’m adopted, and I think it really is nice to have a family that actually cares for me and gives me the love and attention I need,” said Mary.

Camilla agreed with her sister. She said, “You get someone to love you and hug you every night and kiss you. And read you bedtime stories and stuff like that. And help you with your homework.”

Mateen said the children are helping him and his partner to change their own lives. 

“I want to be healthier, because of them. I want to live a little longer, because no one wants their parents to pass away early,” he said.

Nowadays, they are grateful for the journey and spending plenty of family time together.

“Just go through the process,” said Cooper. “It makes your life so much happier.”

Mateen added, “We thought we were happy the way we were. Just the two of us; and now, we’re twice as happy. And it’s just hard to imagine not having that happiness there.”

To learn more about adoption services, contact Family Services of NW PA at 814-866-4549.

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