“Adoption changed my life.”

Codey Zipperle found peace – and a family he could count on – when he met Cindy and Joel Zipperle through St. Joseph Children’s Home. Codey and his younger brother Brandon, were in foster care for several years and wanted to have a stable home life with their parents, but attempts for reunification with the family failed. “I knew there was an issue with my biological parents, but I never got a straight answer from them…coming and going from foster care to their house became second nature,” he says.

Fortunately, a chance meeting between him and the Zipperles – a meeting that wasn’t supposed to happen – led Codey to a family who couldn’t wait to give him their last name. Coincidentally, the couple were scheduled to meet with another child, but missed their opportunity after learning another family adopted him.

They met 7-year-old Codey through the St. Joe’s now defunct family visitors program and quickly developed a rapport. Meeting the Zipperles, says Codey, marked a turning point in his life. “On the day I met them, I had gotten into trouble and was told to go to my room for a half hour. They [the staff] said ‘you have friendly visitors coming at 4pm.’ We went out to the back playground area and there was a miniature baseball field and we were throwing a football and then they asked if they could take me out to eat. We went to Burger King, and it was the first time I ever ordered something that wasn’t on the kids’ menu. I had a Whopper, and I thought it was the greatest day.”



In 1999, the couple became foster parents to Codey, 9 and his brother Brandon, 6 then they adopted them in 2003. Codey says he couldn’t wait to start calling them Mom and Dad, because of their inclusiveness. “They were very good about taking me to family gatherings. Mom (Cindy) was one of 8 kids so Thanksgiving and Christmas were always huge events. All the aunts and uncles accepted me right away…I didn’t feel like an outsider.”

Finally, Codey found a family he could trust, and he had no intentions of doing anything to jeopardize the relationship, he explains. “I always strived to do my best. I was always more afraid of disappointing them, because they were a new set of parents, and they held you to a high standard. You knew the consequences.”



“A lot of people are scared of the baggage that would come with adopting a child. I would say you get what you put into it. If you believe this child is yours and is your family you can get through it.” – Codey Zipperle


Being part of his new family made Codey aware of how vastly different his life would have been without his adoptive parents. “If I had been with my biological family, I would have been locked up. I now work in law enforcement.” Joel credits St. Joe’s with giving them the guidance they needed through the process. “With St. Joe’s, they take you through the training slowly and they give you a lot of information about the child. There were home visits, and they asked us how they could help,” says Joel.



As a parent of two kids (Abigail and Michael Joel), Codey is a constant presence in their lives and says his experiences have had a major impact on how he raises them. “I know what it’s like going through the system…I love my kids, and I want them to know I am always there for them.”

Thanks for sharing Codey!



P.S. If you have questions about foster care and adoption you can find more details here. Also, read about the sweet way this SJ kid bonded with his adoptive father.

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  • Suzy Hillebrand says:

    Love this family!

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St. Joseph Children’s Home
2823 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206
(502) 893-0241
(877) 893-0241