Heart at Work: Lives Enriched by Foster Care

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Heart at Work: Lives Enriched by Foster Care

3 min read November 20, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic, social unrest, racial injustice and more have hurt an already vulnerable population of underprivileged children and youth living with disabilities. To take action—and provide employees and their families an opportunity to give back through varied acts of kindness, safely from home—MetLife is partnering with four global organizations for 90 Days of Giving, launched in conjunction with the United Nation's International Youth Day (August 12).

In tandem, MetLife Foundation is donating $2 million to the four organizations—Save the Children, Special Olympics, Together We Rise, and Helping Hands—to help enable them to continue their missions.

Together We Rise is a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming the way kids experience foster care in America. As part of 90 Days of Giving, MetLife employees in the U.S. are decorating duffel bags for foster children to use when they move between homes so that they don't, as is often the case, need to pack their belongings in trash bags. As you’ll see in the stories below, every act of kindness makes a difference.

No two foster care experiences are alike. Take MetLife employees Karin Davis-Thompson, Kim Prime, and Julie Conner, for example. Their lives have been touched—and enriched—through foster care in different ways.

Karin, of Global Communications, and her husband decided early on that they wanted to be adoptive parents. "Our church started a foster care adoption agency for one of the same reasons we wanted to adopt—because there was not an agency at the time in the state of Florida that spoke to trying to make sure that children, especially those of color, found families."

Heart at Work: Lives Enriched by Foster Care

They became registered foster parents, a process requiring classes, a home study, and more. The couple went on to foster five children ranging in age from newborn to two years old. Two—a boy who came to them at four days old and a girl who came at the age of two—are now their son and daughter, ages 20 and 19, respectively. "I got to have the entire experience of being a mom—from a newborn all the way up; he came directly from the hospital to us and my daughter never lived with her biological family."

Fostering does not always lead to adoption, and saying goodbye is never easy. But in those situations, Karin says, "we remind ourselves that this was an opportunity to effect a child's life." With the first child she fostered, the girl was developmentally delayed, having come from a foster home with seven or eight babies all under the age of one. "She needed that one-on-one attention that we were able to give her. She may never remember, but I know that we were able to focus on her." 

When contacted about a child, there's not a lot of time before they arrive in their foster home. Just ask Kim, also of Global Communications. "I got a call on a Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. saying that twins were in need of a home," she shares. The babies arrived on Friday. "We went from a family of two to a family of four overnight."

Heart at Work: Lives Enriched by Foster Care

She and her husband also fostered with the intent to adopt; the twins' adoption was finalized just before they turned two, and today, Jasmine and Julius are about to turn 13. The twins also have 14-year-old twin siblings with another adoptive family who they've met and keep in touch with. 

For Julie, who works in Global Technology & Operations, she was in foster care herself. "I was adopted as a baby and went into a foster home as a teenager, and I've never looked back," she says. "I learned so many different things from my foster family. I lived there starting as a teenager and stayed in the area. I got married there, raised my daughter there. I still keep in contact with my foster family—I consider my foster parents my mom and dad."

Heart at Work: Lives Enriched by Foster Care

In 2013, after nearly 40 years, she was reunited with her seven older siblings. The children were separated shortly after birth and adopted by families across the U.S. "I can live life to the fullest now because I have my siblings. I have my adoptive family; I have my foster family."  

You can make a difference, too. Volunteer for Together We Rise by hosting a fundraiser or participating in a team-building event. There are also several ways to donate towards school supplies, college funds, birthday experiences, and more. Click here for details.

Nothing in these materials is intended to be advice for a particular situation or individual. These materials are for general information purposes only.