What is a family? What is a family to the over about 4,000 kids growing up in foster care who are legally ready for adoption? I can say for certain these are questions I asked when being raised in one of my 20-some placements before turning 18.
Things changed for me when I was placed in Carolyn Brickley’s foster home, a single lady who stands 4’8 in heels! I was entering 6th grade and was definitely a troubled child. Although I lived with Carolyn, my biological mother was my hero. I now read past DHS caseworker notes from my file and realize living with my mom was never a possibility. But, this didn’t stop me from making it my mission! It’s funny how God works, puts people in your life and connects puzzle pieces when you don’t even know you’re in a puzzle. During a visit with my mom (while sitting around a conference table with a social worker present) my biological mom gave me a saxophone on one condition: I would promise to become Kenny G. My mom had already called my foster mom, Carolyn, and asked her to give me music lessons. Ms. Brickley was pretty good at music since she was the elementary music teacher.
Throughout my other moves, over 30 life-saving surgeries, graduating high school, going onto college and then graduate school, it was music that brought Carolyn and I back together. After returning from doing shows in Shanghai, China, I spotted Carolyn in the audience while giving an address to my Alma Matter, North Mahaska High School. I walked down to her music room and we sat, we talked, and we cried.
Over 10 years after our chat and this past July 28th on my 37th birthday, I was legally adopted by Carolyn and she was adopted by me! Recently, Carolyn brought out her trumpet, me my saxophone, and we played together for the first time.
We played for an organization called “Iowans for Adoption”. I couldn’t think of a better organization to support. Iowans for Adoption is a non-profit dedicated to raising scholarships for Iowans to adopt.
Carolyn and I are also excited to be at The Gingerbread Run, an upcoming fundraiser for Iowans for Adoption. All funds raised will be used to assist families in Iowa wanting to adopt children in need of families (like I was!) I can’t encourage all Iowans: individuals, couples, families, kids and all to join us at the Gingerbread Run. Not only will you meet so many others of like minds, but will help ensure we’re giving our kiddos a shot with a family and at a life.
Date: Saturday, November 4
When: 10 a.m.
Where: Ankeny DMACC, Ankeny Bldg #3W
From the bottom of my heart, I say “thank you” and looking forward to seeing you there!