Scott Jarvis, Senior Director of Foster Care & Family Services and Healthy Families, recounts his experience as a foster parent and adoptive parent, and his journey that brought him to KDC’s Foster Care & Family Services program.
My husband and I were foster parents for 15 years with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF). We had as many as 5 children at one time. On December 23rd, 2003, our Family Resource Worker (FRW) came to the house because one of the children was leaving our home to be reunified with her father. At that time, the FRW asked us if we would consider siblings, two brothers- a 7-month-old and 2-year old. They had been kidnapped and were found in Puerto Rico. Two DCF workers flew to Puerto Rico and with the help of the police, found the brothers and flew back to Providence. The brothers arrived at our home at 2:00 in the morning on December 24th, Christmas Eve.
Prior to their arrival, we ran around various stores buying clothes, toys, food, a crib, etc. We even purchased Christmas gifts for the boys. We learned the two-year-old only spoke Spanish and the 7-month-old was diagnosed with failure to thrive, only weighing ten pounds. We were told we had two weeks to nurse him to good health or he would have to be hospitalized. He only drank small amounts of formula at first and was unfamiliar with being held. Fortunately the boys thrived and did amazing. We adopted the boys in April and as fate would have it, on our anniversary. They were our Christmas gifts and Anniversary gifts! Today they are about to be 19 and 21 this year.
Being a foster parent inspired me to become a social worker. Along with the boys, we had several other foster children in our home. One of the workers who flew to Puerto Rico is now an Area Director at DCF and we sometimes talk and reminisce about the boys and how they came into care with us. Although it was hard work sometimes, it was well worth it, even when we had 5 children under 4 years of age. The first few years of being a foster parent we always asked for school aged children, yet we never received anyone who was over the age of 4. Our oldest is now a father. He is wonderful as a father.
I wrote a speech to speak at an event in Fall River about traditional versus non-traditional families. The definition of traditional family is still “a working father, stay at home mother, with two biological children, living in the suburbs”. In 2022, that should not be the definition. We define our own traditional families. It was a privilege to be a foster parent, an adoptive parent, and still is as I work with foster and pre-adoptive parents at KDC.
About Kennedy-Donovan Center
Kennedy-Donovan Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit human service agency providing a wide range of direct and supportive services to those facing developmental delays, disabilities and other challenges throughout Central and Southeastern Massachusetts. KDC’s 336 employees currently serve 7,500 children, adults and families living in 150 communities.
Contact: Crystal Park firstname.lastname@example.org 508-772-1201 Kennedy-Donovan Center One Commercial Street Foxboro, MA 02035