Families making a difference

Published 7:12 am Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Editorial by Chris Kovatch

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending an event organized by a person that I hold in extremely high regard. She, along with her entire family, is a champion of children in foster care and in my eyes is the true definition of a ‘super mom’. As most of you know I have 5 kids, which from the outside looking in appears to be a level of crazy that leads many people to question my sanity. The family that I am focusing on today definitely takes my ‘crazy’ to a different level. The Briggs family is comprised of 10 members; Dad (Milton), Mom (Brittni), and 8 kiddos. I have shared before how each member of our family plays an active role in ensuring our family functions as a whole. We are a team and everyone has a position to play. This is quite evident in the Briggs family as well. Sisters and brothers look out for each other and help each other when the need arises. If you just take a step back and watch them it is evident what family means to them, and it really makes me hope that my kids are getting the same experience. Friends and acquaintances may come and go, but family is always there.

You would think that most people who just welcomed a set of twins into their family would be taking it easy (as easy as one can take it with new babies), but that’s not the case. The Briggs Family has such a heart for children in the foster system, that they have begun a support group of sorts for families who currently foster or have adopted children. This past weekend at Claiborne Park several families, who didn’t know each other before, came together because of a common bond. I feel that the purpose of this group is multi-faceted. Fellowship, first and foremost, is something that we all need. A sense of community makes us feel part of something and helps us realize that we aren’t alone. An indescribable feeling of happiness came over me as I watched kids who were blessed with good parents from birth and kids who were blessed by being placed with these families come together and just get to be kids. The challenges that we may have to deal with on a daily basis, because of cognitive or social deficiencies, melted away with the laughter and smiles that could be found on the playground that afternoon.

This gathering also serves another purpose for the parents and even older children who are active in the dynamics of family life. Unfortunately, a lot of children in the foster system have experienced things that no child should have to go through. Their development, or lack thereof, could also be a byproduct of the unstable environments that they have lived in. This time together allowed us to share our experiences with different children over the years and ways we were able to work towards improving the quality of their lives. The foster system can be a tricky and challenging path to navigate, and I will always value the advice that was given to us by veteran foster parents. Perhaps they have experienced a certain behavior in a child and have tips on how to address it or maybe they have a contact that could assist in addressing a certain need. No matter the scenario, just having someone to reach out to for support can help make the most difficult situation a little more bearable.

What the future holds for this group is to be determined, but I feel quite certain it will bring great benefits to the local foster community. The focus will always be on the children and helping them in whatever way we can.

My hat’s off to the Briggs family. You are an inspiration to many and I know the countless lives you have touched and changed will be forever grateful. Keep up the amazing work. You are making a difference.