Great question. Let me take a minute to introduce myself to you in my first of many blogs.
Who are you?
For most of my childhood, my dad was in the Navy and we moved a lot. For some reason I decided that was a good idea and decided I wanted to go in the Navy also. My mom had been in the Navy before she got pregnant with me and I wanted to follow in her footsteps. I served four years on active duty as a Surface Warfare Officer. My husband, Nelson, was in the Army and we never saw each other. We both decided to get off of active duty and live together full-time. We moved to Cincinnati in 2015 and have fallen in love with the Queen City ever since.
Why are you doing this?
In 2016, my husband and I became licensed foster parents. We were excited to parent with no expectation of adoption. We love reunification and wanted to see it happen. We also prefer older kids. We continually got older placements with "something else" going on above and beyond trauma. We weren't quite sure what that was, but I knew FASDs were prevalent in foster care from a friend. What I didn't know was how broad the symptoms were. My foster agency referred me to mentor other parents and I noticed that many of them were seeing the same thing. When I noticed how much this was impacting the foster community, I started advocating at the local, state, and federal level in an effort to help keep families together.
How did you get here?
In December 2019, I gave a training sponsored by the Ohio Steering Committee and was simultaneously working with a member of Cincinnati City Council to pass a motion on FASDs. A news reporter got wind of the motion and interviewed me. Things started exploding from there and as of July 2020, I have trained over 1,000 people on FASDs.