The typical day for a treatment coordinator involves one simple fact: There is no such thing as a typical day. And for Kelly Troy, treatment coordinator for Trulove and Foy Orthodontics, Montgomery, Ala, that statement couldn’t be truer.

Each day, Troy and her fellow teammates—10 total, including Trulove—travel to one of four practice locations and see an estimated 65 patients per day.

“There’s never a dull moment, that’s for sure. But you have to be really flexible and understanding of what each person needs,” she explains. “I work with such a great team, that it makes each day easy.”

When out of the office, the importance of flexibility and understanding continues; as does the concept that there is no such thing as a typical day or a typical family.

Since 2001, Troy and her husband, Robert, have worked closely with the Montgomery County Department of Human Resources (MCDHR) to foster children in their home.

After weeks of courses and stringent background checks, Troy and her family received their first placement—two children who had been severely neglected. Very soon, issues arose and Troy became concerned about the well-being of the foster children and the safety of her own two children who were 10 and 8 at the time.

The placement lasted only a week before the children were reassigned. Afterwards, Troy and her husband had doubts about fostering others, and were concerned about their abilities.

“I was not prepared at all to be a foster parent to those kids,” she explains. “It felt as if we had failed them and ourselves. But I did not feel, in my heart, that we were the right parents for those children, and that was a hard lesson to learn.”

Throughout the years, there would be more foster children and more lessons to learn. Eventually, the family received their first long-term placement: a little girl who was only 4 years old. After living with the Troys for 2½ years, the MCDHR concluded that the girl’s biological parents were not fit for her return, and their rights of guardianship were terminated.

“We did not go into fostering to adopt children, but in 2006, that’s exactly what happened,” Troy explains. “The MCDHR approached us about adoption and we couldn’t walk away. She had been with us for so long, and it would have broken all of our hearts. It would have been like walking away from our biological child—we just couldn’t do that.”

Troy and her husband went through the lengthy proceedings of adoption of their newest daughter. In 2010, the same situation arose and they adopted a son. And, in 2012, they were asked to again adopt a foster child, an 8-month-old boy who had been born to a drug-addicted mother.

“It’s pretty uncommon for this to have happened three different instances in such a short period of time, but we knew we had to do it,”  Troy explains.

Currently, the Troys are a family with six children, ages ranging from 3 to 25. Over the years, as her family grew in terms of both head counts and ages, Troy had the security of knowing she was supported at work.

“Never, in the 16 years that I’ve been at the office, have I felt that my personal life, or the needs of my family, was a burden to my team. We all have those days that don’t go according to plan, and Dr Trulove is all about family,” Troy explains. “He encourages us to take care of our families first. The office will be okay.”

It goes without saying that a certain amount of chaos is in order for such a bustling household, and Troy has developed a motherly mantra in order to make it work.

“I have to stay very organized. At the same, I can’t let hiccups to the plan upset my day,” she notes. “Just as in the office, I have to be extremely flexible. If you allow yourself to become overwhelmed, that’s when the ship will sink. You have to be positive and know you can do it, and that you’re going to do it. One day at a time, one child at a time.”

Troy recognizes all her office teammates as being a vital part of keeping the proverbial ship afloat each day.

“We’re all very close and we know what makes each other tick,” she explains. “I feel so blessed that I have coworkers that can step in for me with a smile on their face. And I try to do the same thing for them.

“If I didn’t have my husband, Dr Trulove, and my coworkers with me on this journey, I couldn’t do it. They don’t realize what a vital part they all play in our children’s lives, but they do. It’s an extended family for them, and we’re all so thankful for that family.” OP

Lori Sichtermann is a freelance writer for Orthodontic Products. She can be reached at [email protected].