One of my favorite summer activities is sitting under the shade of a leafy green tree at the Barn, watching two beautiful young girls who I love ride their favorite horses. These sisters have adored horses since they were babies. To watch them riding with such skill, grace, and focus warms my heart.
Recently a woman approached me to say she had heard that I became a full time child advocate “because I was angry at the child welfare system for failing children who have been placed in the public foster care system.”
While that could be someone else’s motive, it wasn’t mine. I certainly learned important lessons about the child welfare system when we became a foster family but anger was not the root cause for my decision to become a social entrepreneur.
Here’s the truth. I established the Treehouse Foundation and Sibling Connections from a place of love. Two beautiful baby girls were placed in our home. I fell in love with them instantly. They were so full of life. Their potential was palpable. I wanted to bless their lives.
As I stood in the doorway of the child welfare offices with a child on each hip, it became clear to me that the best way to honor their lives and the lives of their siblings and peers in the foster care system was to collaborate with other out-of-the-box thinkers to create fabulous new programs full of color, whimsy, joy and connection.
I considered becoming a full time foster parent for a minute but quickly realized that I would only be able to have a positive impact on a relatively small number of children. A short time later it became clear to me. I needed to get out in the world and do what I do best: create new programs that invite people of all ages to help transform the way we think and act toward our nation’s children who have been placed in foster care.
My decision came from a place of love. It’s a life decision that I fully embrace. It’s a pleasure to be working with such fabulous people at Treehouse and Sibling Connections who are dedicated to building innovative organizations, communities and programs that inspire a re-envisioning of foster care.
I look forward to doing more. It is a pleasure to bless the lives of the children I love and respect. Especially these two young girls on horseback who have taught me so much over the past 10 years!