July 2, 2012
By Emily Nichols & Alex Apodaca
Meet Mary - mother, wife, and the voice behind , a blog that has become an outlet for her “to share [her] thoughts and experiences as an adoptive and foster mother in an attempt to educate, advocate, and occasionally vent.”
Mary and her husband first opened their home to Justin in November 2006 and so
far, she has given a sense of normalcy to seven foster children. In March
of 2008, their family adopted a beautiful daughter and welcomed
into their family for good.
Mary TOGETHER WE RISE on her blog and
graciously shared some of her experiences and wisdom from six years as a foster
What first got you interested in foster care?
I’ve always been interested in child welfare but it wasn’t until I was in
college and listening to a presentation on the need for foster parents and what
is required to be a foster parent that I thought, “Hey- this is something that
I could actually do (instead of just thinking about doing in the back of my
mind).” My husband wasn’t too keen on the idea when I first brought it up
but after facing some of our fears and concerns we took our first foster
placement five years into our marriage. We didn’t have any children at
the time and it just seemed like the “right” thing to do.
What do you think would be the greatest gift you could give to a foster child?
Confidence in themselves and a sense of security that they are cared for and
their needs will be met. I think both of those are best accomplished by
validating their feelings and needs and letting them know that they matter.
What’s been your most memorable experience while being a foster parent?
It’s hard to pick just one experience but one of the most rewarding and
unexpected aspects of being a foster parent for me has been not just helping
our foster children but seeing families come back together (in the successful
cases) and earning their parents trust. For example, our first foster
child’s parents invited us to their wedding and their child’s birthday party
after he left our care. Another of our foster children’s parents
expressed their thanks in helping to care for their child while they “could get
their lives back together”.
At the end of a hard day battling the system, what keeps you going?
There’s a couple of things that keep me going: First, I need to
remember that it’s not about me- it’s about the children. Second, Love is
much more powerful than frustration, doubt, discouragement, or fear.
If your family were to be on the cover of your favorite newspaper or magazine
in five years, what would the story be about?
That we suddenly had enough money to buy a huge house and adopt a sibling
group (or two) from foster care!
What's one piece of wisdom or advice that you would like to share with people
outside the foster community or prospective foster parents?
Don’t let fear hold you back from making a difference in someone’s life.
We at TOGETHER WE RISE, would like to thank Mary and suggest that she meet last
week’s blog-savvy foster mom, Alisa. Keep it up ladies!