Foster Care, Adoption and Giving Back

Who needs a hand?

Giving back is a part of life, and big on the list.  Not something I was necessarily “taught” as a child, but something that came over time, at home, in college, and when I entered the “real” world.  Who knew that Foster Care, Adoption, and giving back would soon become a large part of my life.

In college I joined Alpha Phi Omega, a National Co-Ed Service Fraternity, and learned what it meant to give back as a group as well as individually.  It was a great way to meet people and also feel good about what you were doing.  Yes, we had our fair share of parties and fun, but “being in service” was the goal. 

Into to a job, and a boss who I learned so much from, beginning with giving back.  I am not sure he realizes what an impact he had on me in that regard but he did.  Here was this highly paid, VIP, who people were in awe of, yet so down to earth and giving of his time, money, and love….to his church, community, his family, his co-workers, and anyone who needed it.  He also adopted internationally and has always been an inspiration to me.

Fast forward, to married with kids, and already involved in my church and my community.  When the opportunity to Foster came to light, it was an easy decision.  We could help one family, one child, and make a difference in their lives.  It was about giving back.  It is much easier to do than most people think, and it doesn’t have to be long term….you can make a lasting impact on the system and a child, in small ways like emergency care, respite, or having a fund raiser!

Today I saw a tweet about a touching story…two boys who are Seniors in HS in New Jersey, adopted as babies, who met and found out about eachother at a chance meeting  while they were in 8th grade.  The bond was formed.  And, together they’ve decided to give back to foster kids in a fun way!  All while creating awareness and raising money for the Dave Thomas Foundation.  It’s a wonderful story, one of many I hope my kids will learn about and take to heart….as I teach them about foster care, adoption, and giving back to their community.

I commented on a YouTube video the boys posted featuring their story, and hope you will too.  I let them know I thought they were doing GREAT things!  Hopefully inspiring and encouraging them to continue the journey of making a difference and giving back…..for ALL the kids!

Small things make a big difference….you have the power to change a life!


What are your thoughts about giving back?  Did you learn from your parents?  How do you “give back” or pay it forward?  What have you taught your kids about this or is it something that just happens?  Do you know of any other foster kids giving back?  I would love to encourage and cheer them on!

About Rita Brennan Freay

The journey of a 1000 miles always ends with a dirty diaper. Headmaster of a self inflicted international preschool & visitor center compassionately changing kids lives, one diaper at a time.
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17 Responses to Foster Care, Adoption and Giving Back

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  2. This is so moving, Rita. I am also thinking about about the theme of how inspiration travels from one to another: From your boss to you, now from you to all of us. I realize that coming out of a tough financial position, that my giving back has not ever stopped and what I do is offer service to people, whether it be free counseling, flower essences or the volunteer work I do with my PLayback Theater company and it truly feels
    like an honor and a reciprocity in the acceptance of gifts offered.

  3. Fiona Stolze says:

    Rita, I love your dedication and open heart. You really inspire us with all of your work. When I stop to think about how I was brought up, I can see clearly that this was not one of the values my parents passed onto us. My Dad lived in a world full of fear that there wasn’t enough to go around.

    I love to give to others and had a great oppportunity to do that in bringing up my three children. Now it feels wonderful to share things and know that they can touch other people’s lives.

    My long-term vision has been to create a healing centre, a home from home, for people to come to to be heard and seen in and find community. And I know I am trusting in others giving to help make this a reality whenever it is appropriate. Giving and receiving in equal measure makes the world go round. So I bring my awareness to sharing whenever and however I can to make this come about.

    Thanks for all you do Rita. You’re really great! x

    Fiona Stolze
    Inspired Art and Living

  4. I love all your passion and dedication, you are fabulous! We need more people like you.
    The world would be a better place if people would just start with the simple things in life like being nice to others, drive nicely instead of cutting others and provoking accidents, be on time, smile a little more, make others laugh, compliment the spouse, recycle, stop arguing, saying hi to the neighbor etc. I think it’s all the little things where every one of us can start, there is always room for improvement and I am working on that every single day.
    And then there are the bigger things that we can do, too..
    Thanks for sharing with us,

    Franziska San Pedro
    The Abstract Impressionist Artress

  5. Trish says:

    Rita, The world definitely needs more people like you and is better because of you! It’s huge what you are doing and you are so right to encourage everyone to do “one small thing.”

    caregiving. family. advocacy

  6. Pat Zahn says:

    Rita – you astound and amaze me with your big, big heart. Finding a way to add love into the world should be on everyone’s to-do list.

  7. Fantastic, heartfelt post Rita! As children, we (brothers & I) were taught to give back as well and without expectation of reciprocity. As you said, even the smallest act of kindness and giving selflessly can have an enormous impact. I am not in the position to foster children like you do (an angel you are!) but there are loads of smaller-scale acts that I trust make a difference.

    I think an attitude of gratitude for our good fortunes (whatever that may be) is essential in giving back.

    Bless you for all you do, Rita!

    Heidi & Atticus
    “commentary to give you paws…”

  8. Pingback: Foster Care, Adoption and Giving Back | Rita's Rituals | unmadikhan

  9. My parents taught me to give to charity and volunteer, but we did not have any connection to fostering or adoption. That would not have been my parents’ way of giving, and we wouldn’t have been an easy family for any child to enter into! I am aware of international adoption because my step-daughter is from Korea, and just last week my husband and I went to an exhibit that featured international adoptees speaking to their unseen biological parents. We could really appreciate the confusion, mystery, longing, and uncertainty these adoptees felt, along with many positive, appreciative, and loving feelings towards adoptive families.

    I love the generous spirit you express and your passion!

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer
    Personal-Professional Balance Through Writing

  10. This means so much to me. I foster dogs. I have two rescues. I have saved dozens. I relate. Children are all gifts. I enjoy my friend’s contributions to my world!

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Aww thanks Bill…love what you are doing too…fabulous! I wish I could help there too, maybe someday! Thank goodness they have you!

  11. Carly says:

    What a positive story.

  12. Julie Labes says:

    Rita you have a such a big heart and you should be so proud of what you have done. I am a partner in hope with St Judes so I give what I can there as I cannot begin to imagine what a parent of a child with cancer must go through.
    I like the idea of the little white envelope and I will check it out. My kids are older now I want Christmas and other holidays to mean something more than just presents for them under the tree. And you are right..if everyone just did one small thing..imagine the world we could live in.

    Julie Labes: The Fun-Loving, Feisty, Fearless, Frisky, Fierce Over 50 Traveler

  13. Wow, a wonderful inspiration to many! I love kids but knew very early on I wouldn’t have any of my own. I knew it at age 19. I admire what you’ve done.

    Julieanne Case
    Always from the heart!

    Reconnecting you to your essence, joy, vitality, youth.| Healing you from the Inside Out |Reconnective Healing | AgeLoc Skin Care | Pharmanex Supplements

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Thank you! I love what they are doing….very inspirational and life changing for all the kids…I hope they know how BIG this is to the kids….especially those still waiting for families!

  14. Brenda Jones says:

    If everyone did something small to make the world a better place, how great of a world would we live in? I was inspired to give in high school. Of course I’d done things before then, but this one event triggered something that I’ve done ever since… and for more than half of my life. My freshman English teacher read us a story. The Small White Envelope. You can read the story if you google “the white envelope project.” It ends with a small white envelope on a Christmas tree and a donation being made in lieu of gifts. Most of my family is much older and while not wealthy, they have what they need. As a student, I didn’t have the budget to get everyone nice gifts, so starting that year, I have given this poem and a little card or bookmark declaring who I donated to that year. I donate all year long… animals, kids, breast cancer, and so much more. The reason I want to grow my business is so that I can lavish donations on so many causes that need so much more than what I’m currently able to give from my bank account and of my time. I used to dream of being a SAHM who spent “school” time volunteering. Now I dream of building a business that not only gives me the time to volunteer, but the funds to really make a huge impact. It drives me. Thank you for all that you do. We are affecting the world, one person at a time.

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      You said it Brenda…just one small thing! That would be fantastic:) Just read the White Envelope Project, and of course I cried! Don’t think I will ever forget the man who hated christmas…and all the good he has brought to the world! At first thought I was thinking about the Salvation Army tree’s…which we also do…but this is such a great way to honor a loved one….and to teach kids about giving back…thanks for sharing:) You’ve already done amazing things…the fire is lit, ain’t no stoppin you now! The world is a better place because of you, keep it up woman:)

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