Kevin White took care of the little ones long before he even thought about becoming a father. When he was young, White’s mother was a preschool teacher and had her own early childhood education and daycare.
“I grew up with my mother. I admired everything about her, ”he said. “Children have always been a part of my life.”
That experience prepared him to father four of his own children over the years and to have half a dozen foster children in his home.
“You have to be flexible at all times. I believe in enjoying the time together and being supportive and patient, ”said White.
He was in his sophomore year when his mother was diagnosed with cancer. White returned to Vancouver, Washington, and ran preschool while his mother was treated. After her death, he continued to run the daycare center until it was sold.
White and his future wife, Rochelle, met through an “arranged marriage,” which they jokingly call. His father, who worked at Safeway, thought his colleague’s daughter would be a perfect match for his son. Rochelle’s mother – who had created cakes for the White family’s preschool for decades – agreed.
“Our first date lasted 12 hours,” said Kevin. “We got engaged six months later. Our parents are still very proud of the matchmaking. “
The whites have three biological children: Portia, 18 (named after White’s mother); Paxon, 16; and Preston, 14. Their youngest, 10-year-old Pria, is adopted.
“We’ve had her since she was five weeks old,” said White. “It was an emergency care situation. We’d always talked about doing it, and by adopting Pria, it opened the door for us to nurture other children. “
The family moved to Orcas from Puyallup, Washington, four years ago. Kevin, who has been in the hospitality industry for over 30 years, is the manager of Worldmark Deer Harbor and Rochelle is a para-educator at Orcas Island Elementary School. Their children have done well in the orcas community, where Kevin pounced on volunteer opportunities. He has been President of the Booster Club for three years and was a softball coach for two years.
Portia, who readers may recognize as the sports reporter for Sounder’s Viking, has just graduated from Orcas High School and will be playing basketball at Northern Vermont University-Johnson this fall.
“Our children have experienced city life, country life and island life. They’re very versatile, ”said Kevin. “And they are all very respectful. They pay attention to their manners. All the feedback I get from teachers is that they are polite and good children. We trust that you will make the right choice. We are a close family and we communicate. We enjoy being together, be it hiking, on the boat or in the water. “
Kevin says he and Rochelle are well balanced. He “keeps moving and looking ahead” while she is more in the present moment, “a special time for each of the children”.
“The hardest part is knowing that they’ll grow up and leave too quickly,” said Kevin. “They will have their own lives and not be with us that often,” said Kevin. “I want to spend as much time as possible with the children to share their experiences with them. I don’t want them to look back and say I wasn’t there. “