“Focus on Our Families” is a series of articles that features foster and adoptive parents and their experiences so those inside and outside of the organization will have a better understanding of the importance and the rewards of foster parenting and/or being an adoptive parent.
Roberta Austin-Thomas is a proud and humble woman, and she has every right to be so. This recently retired federal government employee of 34 years and grandmother to five knows hard work, dedication, and being there for others.
Ms. Austin-Thomas also knows firsthand what it is like to be a young single mother and how important being a good parent is in the upbringing of a child. This is, in part, why she decided to become a foster parent – to use her own experiences to guide and mold young lives – as well as familial reasons. It was also due to her mother and three sisters having already been foster parents with CONCERN and being inspired by their daily good works.
Having recently celebrated her 7th anniversary as a CONCERN foster parent in our Maryland Regional Office, Ms. Austin-Thomas has fostered seven children, including three from our Mother/Infant Program.
Ms. Austin-Thomas stated, “I was a teenage mom with two kids and my mom was there and I wanted to be there for another child who needed support, love, and guidance.”
Advice she likes to offers to those in her care is,“I want every teenage mom to know you can become anything you set your goals to be. Do your best because that’s all that counts.”
Ms. Austin-Thomas still keeps in touch with the children she helped raise, sometimes through visits or by having lunch to catch up.
And while all of the children in her care have a special place in her heart, the Mother/Infant placements have an extra special place because she has been in their situation. She stays in touch with one such mother, offering sage wisdom or just being there to lend an ear.
Her advice to all of those who have become part of her extended family is simply, “Don’t let your past determine your future.”
She has chosen to stay with CONCERN because “of the one on one they give to not just the kids, but also to the foster parent. CONCERN is a good name of the agency because they show genuine concern.” It also appears that as long as there are youngsters in need, Ms. Austin-Thomas will be there to answer the call.
If you wish to experience the joys of becoming a foster parent like Roberta Austin-Thomas, please visit CONCERN’s website for more information at www.concern4kids.org.