This past year has been a big one for embrella. We celebrated our 40th Anniversary, met and helped countless wonderful adoptive, foster and kinship parents and, with a stroke of luck, learned more about one of our founders.
Here are embrella’s top 3 moments of the year:
1. Helping a Woman Adopt a NJ Foster Child Who Was In Puerto Rico
Here at FAFS, we’re dedicated to helping foster, adoptive and kinship parents any way we can. In May, we became aware of a woman who needed help. She said a young lady that she knew was in the foster care system in Puerto Rico and was in need of a stable, loving and caring home. After her mother died, the girl was taken from New Jersey and brought to Puerto Rico where her biological father was living. But under her father’s care, the girl became a victim of abuse and had to be taken out of his custody. However, she still remained in Puerto Rico. After the NJ woman reached out to FAFS, our Family Advocates assisted her in her quest to obtain custody of the child and bring her back to New Jersey. FAFS did whatever was necessary, including translating important documents from Spanish to English and from English in Spanish.
Today, we’re happy and proud to say that the woman is now in custody of her new daughter.
2. A Former Foster Youth Volunteers to Become a Support Network Chair
FAFS’ Support Network Chairs are integral in helping organize support meetings for every county in the state. This year, a former foster youth volunteered to head up Bergen County and offer support , insight and guidance to both new and veteran foster, adoptive and kinship parents. While Support Network Chairs are often former foster parents, Matthew Schwartz brings the unique perspective of being a former foster youth. Schwartz even went a step further. He wrote a special guest blog detailing the difficulty a foster youth has to overcome. “Being in the system is an obstacle we have to push out of the way to succeed; it is not a crutch,” Schwartz wrote. He also shared with the public the important role adoptive parents’ play in the lives of these children. “Without these special and compassionate people, a lot of us wouldn’t make it,” Schwartz wrote. “Adoptive parents save us from certain turmoil and help shoulder the weight of the world so foster youth can once again dream and be able to make their dreams come true.” Read the complete blog here.
3. We Learn More About Our Co-Founder Hattie Talley Through Her Family
FAFS was founded by three visionaries named Sue and Bernie Dondiego and Hattie Talley. While the former founders remain part of the organization to this day, the latter lady, who died in 1986, was somewhat of a mystery to even longtime members. Then one day we received a phone call from someone inquiring about becoming a foster parent, a common enough occurrence at our office. The woman, Susan Roseboro, told us that she wanted to become a foster parent because she was so inspired by her former foster mother, a woman by the name of Hattie Talley. “She was a good mother,” Roseboro said. “She didn’t make distinctions between foster kids and biological kids. They were just her children.” Roseboro said Talley was someone who genuinely cared, a person who really listened and provided support. She was, to Roseboro, a mother. Roseboro wasn’t the only child of Talley to reach out to us. Anthony, Talley’s son, reached out to us on a blog post about his mother: “I just happened to Google my mother’s name,” Tony wrote. “I am so thankful that she is still being acknowledged.”
For us here at FAFS, we’re more than thankful for Talley, for Schwartz and for foster, adoptive and kinship parents making this year better for countless children in New Jersey.
Lloyd Nelson is the Digital Media Manager of Foster and Adoptive Family Services. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.