Easton, his mom and his two younger brothers were facing an uphill battle. The family had recently left Easton’s dad due to his ongoing physical and emotional abuse which meant they had to flee their home. While they had found safety at a local shelter for survivors of domestic violence, their unhealed trauma and unmet mental health needs impacted their interactions --making communicating and healing together difficult.
Category: Voice of an FCNI Family
Easton, his mom and his two younger brothers were facing an uphill battle. The family had recently left Easton’s dad due to his ongoing physical and emotional abuse which meant they had to flee their home. While they had found safety at a local shelter for survivors of domestic violence, their unhealed trauma and unmet mental health needs impacted their interactions --making communicating and healing together difficult. As an added stress, the Department of Social Services (DSS) had gotten involved in their situation due to ongoing safety issues between them. Easton and his brothers’ conflicts often escalated into violence, causing further trauma and harm. And the after-affects of domestic violence crippled Easton’s mom’s ability to intervene to keep them safe. This, as well as Easton’s mom increasing substance use, put their ability to stay together as a family at risk.
Trevor never imagined calling his car “home.” But that’s exactly what happened to him, his son and daughter when living in their car became their only housing choice. Even though Trevor was employed full time, his rent had been raised twice in the last year alone. With no raise to help with rising costs, it was impossible for him to meet his landlord’s demands. Eviction became inevitable. But Trevor didn’t want to completely displace his children, moving them away from their school and friends, nor could he afford to leave his only source of income.
When Denise and Lee became adoptive foster parents, they were full of excited anticipation. While unsure of what to expect, they were excited to care for someone who truly needed them. That someone would turn out to be Cora--a nine year old girl who was placed in Emergency Shelter Care when her grandparents could no longer care for her. Without parents or other family, and after being repeatedly disappointed by life, Cora had little hope of finding a family of her own. Little did she know who was waiting for her.
Each year, our Sponsor a Child for the Holidays giving campaign has a profound and far-reaching impact on the children, youth and families we serve. In wanting you--our community--to truly understand how meaningful, how empowering and how vital the gift cards and funds you gave are, I reached out to our families to hear from them myself what Sponsor a Child meant to them. I then sat down with and interviewed a local family who wanted to share their experience with you all; below, I share their story written from their perspective.
Millie* knew how turbulent life could be. At only 10, she and her younger brother, Theo, were placed in foster care after their older sister, who they had been living with, dropped them off at a friend’s house and never returned. Millie’s father had passed away years earlier and she had never met her mom, so in care, Millie started to panic that she’d never see any of her family again. Growing more fearful and untrusting while in care, Millie’s emotions started coming out as anger, often misdirected at Theo or her foster parents.
David really wanted to be a good father, and provide for his family in all the ways his own father had not. Unfortunately, having experienced trauma growing up, David had mental health issues he didn’t know how to deal with and he turned to alcohol as a means to cope. When his two children, Molly and Manny, were very young, David’s struggles with alcoholism affected his ability to provide them a stable home and impacted his relationship with their mother, Ana, in very unhealthy ways. On all fronts, David and his family were in crisis.
The saying, “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” while common isn’t often achievable for people who, alone, face impossible obstacles and hardships. Without family or friends’ support, how many of us could deal with losing our job and our home, especially with children to care for? How many of us could even house ourselves for very long without at least one person willing to extend a hand in help? This week on our blog, we have the privilege of sharing Alexandria’s story, another resilient spirit who has successfully graduated our Housing Support Program.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” -Helen Keller
Community support can make anything possible. And Tara Brown can attest to the fact that community and family can provide one the strength and collective power to make anything possible, including adopting a child from foster care as a single mother.
When you’re involved in something as impactful as foster care and adoption, Tara has learned that people want to be a part of the process of something meaningful, inspiring and beautiful. “Some people are meant to foster or adopt, and those who can’t, can still be a support system for those who do,” Tara says. Throughout her journey, Tara discovered the beauty and strength of true community and interdependence. She found that the hardest part about entering into the world of foster care and adoption was her own resistance to asking for help. Tara quickly learned that it is okay to not be okay, to have needs, and to have moments of weakness and doubt, as these moments have taught her how to ask and receive critical help.
“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.”