“She has brought out the very best in all of us”
A church trip to a Guatemala orphanage inspired Kelly Towart, then sixteen years old, to be a foster parent. She recalls feeling helpless because many children would never experience the love of a family, and she desperately wanted to help.
When Kelly returned home, she shared her concerns with her parents, but after careful consideration, they could not adopt. However, Kelly remained inspired as she pursued her career goals and had opportunities to work in crisis care with foster teens.
After marriage and conceiving two daughters, Kelly and her husband decided to become licensed resources and were asked to care for Makayla, who is now eight months old.
With the goal of reunification, Kelly understands that she and her family will one day experience a tremendous loss, but she fully believes that Makayla belongs with her biological family, and Kelly is invested in supporting the reunification plan. “I believe that I’m not only fostering this baby, but it’s also my responsibility to foster her parents, too,” she said.
Kelly has reached out to Makayla’s mother and father with the hope of building a relationship that will further support Makayla’s return home. She wants them to do this together. Kelly feels part of her “why” in fostering is the unexpected relationship she has formed with Makayla’s mom and the influence she has upon her. She reflected on a recent conversation when Makayla’s mom said," If only I had met you sooner, my life could have been so different."
Kelly said it is her faith that has led her to want to mentor and support the baby’s parents.
Kelly is also determined to help change the trajectory of public opinion on foster care and how biological parents are seen. As a Social Media Influencer and with a Master’s Degree in Counseling, Kelly has the platform to reach people through her blog and is helping to change the negativity surrounding birth parents and their trajectory in this journey through placement.
Kelly said that fostering has been a family experience, and opening their home to Makayla has been the best parenting decision in her life. “It’s a beautiful thing for us all to go through this together,” she said, adding, “We are not alone with all these really big feelings.”
Despite loving and letting go, the Towarts believe that co-parenting Makayla with her bio family is the right thing to do. “This is hard in the way that I want my children to experience hard things,” explaining this will be a very difficult goodbye but, nevertheless, a lesson in selflessness.
“I genuinely love Makayla as much as I love my girls,” she said. Kelly explained that Makayla had brought so much joy into their lives, “She has brought out the very best in all of us,” she added.
When asked if she plans to continue fostering, after a pause and a deep breath, Kelly said, “I can absolutely do this again,” adding, but until then, I won’t take one single moment with Makayla for granted."
*The baby’s name was changed to protect the privacy of the family.