After reading White Oleander by Janet Fitch, I thought about the birth parents of children in foster care. I searched for a book dedicated entirely to birth parents but couldn’t find one, so I asked foster care experts if they could help me learn more.
Lindsey, the Director of Care2Foster, connected me with Dena Garzone. Dena is the Program Director for Moms Matter™, a Fostering Great Ideas support group for birth mothers who have lost custody of their children. She is a beautiful, vivacious woman who is in recovery from addiction. She lost custody of her youngest son when he was four. Now, she has her life together, and is committed to using her experience to help women battle their addictions and get back custody of their children.
Dena introduced me to Nicole, a mother from her group. Nicole agreed to an interview on camera, where she shared how Moms Matter was a huge support during the process of getting her kids back. In a clip that didn’t make the final video, Nicole said her daughter’s foster family was also a big support.
First of all, Nicole appreciated how the family cared for her daughter. She said, “She’s kind of a closed off child. She doesn’t trust just a whole lot of people. It took them a little while to get her comfortable. But she’s in a really good home. These people take care of her, and they love her. She’s doing really good in school. She gets outside and gets exercise.”
In addition, the family communicated with Nicole. They gave Nicole their personal cell phone numbers, and they shared photos with Nicole and encouraged Nicole to send pictures back.
Obviously, this kind of partnership is not always possible within the foster system, but some foster families and birth parents find a way to work together for the good of the child. Children living in a positive, cooperative situation are sure to fare better than children who aren’t.
In the midst of all of the negative, scary stories coming out of the foster system, Nicole’s story can give us hope because…
Be inspired! Watch the video interview at https://youtu.be/tg0VZ-waSYM