A few weeks ago I was approached by a friend, Kristen Allender the Child Welfare Specialist &
State Director for Tennessee Kids Belong, regarding an upcoming press conference. As she explained it was all about promoting Chris Tomlin's upcoming Good Friday Concert at Bridgestone Arena. He will be donating the proceeds of this concert to Tennessee Kids Belong to further their mission of finding forever homes for children in foster care. This concert will also highlight Gov Haslam's TN Fosters Initiative. She asked me if I would be able to attend - as you know America's Kids Belong has been the center of my platform and an organization I love beyond words.
To be perfectly transparent, I love the radio but rarely know who sings a song so when I was told that I was going to meet AMAZING Christian recording artist Chris Tomlin ... I had no clue who he was. I did what I always do and called my husband to ask. He was over the moon and then explained to me that Chris Tomlin is who sang Good Good Father, the song that was playing when my husband was baptized. I instantly was excited to meet the man who's voice has infiltrated so many moments in our lives over the past few years.
Yesterday as I sat in the audience, next to the DCS Commisioner Bonnie Hommrich, being recognized by Gov & Mrs. Haslam for our work within the foster care community, I realized how amazing out state really is when it comes to our kids. I was so glad that I had the opportunity after the event to talk to her about fostering and our experiences. We have fostered in California and in Tennessee so I was able to provide her with our viewpoint as to what each state does well and not so well. We live in a state that is so extremely military friendly when it comes to fostering, other states (California included) were not as friendly.
Mrs. Haslam spoke about the numbers; the numbers were AMAZING! Through the TN Fosters Initiative and the I Belong Project through Tennessee Kids Belong 116 children found their forever families in Tennessee in 2017! This is coupled with 1309 verified NEW FOSTER HOMES in our great state. We have amazing faith leaders that work within their congregations to support families in foster care, engage and change the conversation... normalize what foster care is in conversations, take the stigma out and educate our communities on how phenomenal kids in foster care really are.