“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.
For anyone considering foster care and/or adoption, Tara recommends working with an agency that you connect well with, as you need to trust and feel supported by the workers you invite into your life. For Tara, the Family Care Network provided her with a strong connection and a support system that helped her wade through the harrowing process of paperwork, training and interviews involved in the foster certification journey. Tara says that FCNI “staff have been behind me emotionally and tangibly every step of the process. They truly care, and ask if I need support with anything that comes up.” Tara found it essential that she have this connection, as FCNI’s Resource Family Development staff were integrally involved and invested in the process she and her biological son went through to foster and then adopt.
When Tara first prepared to foster, she immediately sought out the support of a few people in her network who she knew would be ready and able to help. She shared with her friends and community about the journey she was about to embark on as a foster mother. She shared, “It was great to just know that people knew what I was doing”. Tara also learned how to keep her circle of support specific and small, to make sure that her needs were being met without overwhelming the children in her home with too many people. She recalls that it was not hard to build her support system, as so many people are searching for meaning outside of their own lives. As she continued to foster and then move towards adoption, Tara learned that it was necessary to “Completely open yourself up to letting others love on you as well”. Tara experienced people around her taking the initiative to express love in practical ways towards she and her family. Tara stated, “That's the mortar of community: a sense of belonging, loyalty and knowing that I have people who have my back”.
Challenging circumstances often remind us our need for community, and transformative experiences of community come when we accept and utilize this need for one another. When providing foster care and/or adoption, many find themselves needing others in new and surprising ways; and find that together, as a village, is the best way to really care for the children entrusted into their care. Community connection is another way that a life can be enhanced through foster care and/or adoption--encouraging people to draw on a collective hope and strength, and learning that through community, extraordinary things can be done by ordinary people.
Step up to the challenge of foster care and/or adoption now, and provide stability and community for children in need of families. For more information, go to our website https://fcni.org/new_site/resource-homes or call Family Care Network’s Resource (Foster) Parent Recruiters at (805) 781-3535.