The Squish Story: A Journey from Foster Care to Adoption

Part 1
by
Tara Brown and Jessica Mock
November, 8, 2016 -

“Heroes didn't leap tall buildings or stop bullets with an outstretched hand; they didn't wear boots and capes. They bled, and they bruised, and their superpowers were as simple as listening, or loving. Heroes were ordinary people who knew that even if their own lives were impossibly knotted, they could untangle someone else's. And maybe that one act could lead someone to rescue you right back.” - Jodi Picoult, Second Glance

Tara Brown started fostering as a young single mom because she had a dream about helping children in the foster care system. Her story is beautiful, wonderful and nothing short of miraculous. At first glance, Tara might seem to some as an ordinary woman, but you’ll quickly find that she is far from ordinary, and has made a world of difference to one child, her newly adopted son. When you learn more about Tara’s story your first question might be, “Why would she foster and then adopt when her life presents so many obstacles that seem impossible to overcome?” Her answer to this is simple yet profound: “Faith, hope and love.”

Tara’s journey towards fostering and adoption began when she was working at a group home. Her heart broke for the kids in care and she knew she wanted to help children in the foster care system in some deeper way someday. Tara married, had a child, then divorced, which to some might seem reason enough to let go of her dream to provide a loving home to children. However, Tara pursued her desire to make a difference when she heard about foster care opportunities through FCNI at her church. Tara’s heart connected with the opportunity, and she embarked on a ten-month certification process. Over this time, Tara learned to be patient with timing, knowing that the wait would be best spent preparing a stable support system within her family and church as well as preparing her son, Isaiah, for the possibility of a new foster sibling.

When asked, Isaiah (now six) will tell you that he knew all along that he would get a baby brother, and that he would “stay with them forever.” Isaiah says that his mom prepared him for a foster placement every day by reminding him that it could be a child of any age, and that the child might not stay with them for very long. He says, “When I prayed for my brother, God told us ‘yes’ this is your brother forever.” The day that Isaiah met his foster brother (whom they nicknamed “Squish,” because his given name was also Isaiah), he knew this was the brother God had told him about. Isaiah and Squish were instantly brothers--Isaiah dotes on him and vows to protect him forever.

Adoption wasn’t in Tara’s mind when she first took in Squish. When he was placed with her, he was a tiny six-week old baby who doctors initially thought was blind, and suffering from a lot of other health and attachment deficiencies. As she nurtured her foster son, advocated for him, fought hard for his health and well-being, she began to see signs of attachment developing. Motherhood instincts kicked in, and Tara realized that as attachment grew, Squish’s health problems improved and he began to truly thrive. Tara shared that despite her fears, “I didn’t resist the attachment bonds with Squish, but fully entered into it knowing that it was the best thing for his health and development.” Tara trusted from the beginning of the process that if it was deemed best for her foster son to live elsewhere, that she would be given the grace to let him go.

While many parents might have fears about the connections that siblings develop, Tara knew that whether Squish was with them for one week, one year or a lifetime, the connection between the boys was healthy, life-giving and regulating for both of them. When the door opened for adoption, there was no question in Tara’s mind that it would be the best not just for Squish, but also for Isaiah and herself. And while she worried at first that as a single mother fostering and then adopting might not be a responsible choice, financially or logistically, the support she’s received from her family and church has shown her that she is not alone. And miraculously, all of their needs have always been met, her sharing, “Between Isaiah and I, there is enough love in my home to go around, and that love just multiplies when you add to it.”

Now they are family forever, and Tara has felt affirmed by her community through the journey that her new son has been worth the fight. Tara feels that she did not just rescue her son, but that their journey and struggles have shown her that there is joy and strength found in community, and that there is goodness in this world.

For those of you thinking about fostering or adopting, we hope Tara’s story inspires and encourages you. Countless children in our community are not only in need of foster families, but are also eligible for adoption. For more information, please go to our website https://fcni.org/new_site/resource-homes or call Family Care Network’s Resource Parent Recruiters at (805) 781-3535.