Initially, when I began writing this
book, I was focused only on my
experiences with the two children
who lived in my home, who I intended
to adopt. However, as I reflected
more and more on all of the experiences
which comprised my lifetime
of nurturing and loving children and
youth through counseling, fostering,
and mentoring, I realized that a memoir
" V i l l a g e "
e x p e r i e n c e
would not be
c o m p l e t e
some of the
who may not
in my home,
but who have
resided in my heart, where they continue
to live today.
Throughout most of my career, it
seems to have always been the children
separated from their biological
parents who have made the most lasting
impressions upon my heart.
Many, actually most, are now adults
with their own children; some I have
no idea where they are. However, I
hope that inasmuch as they have
touched and found a special place in
my heart, that I have in theirs as well.
I believe that what connected me to
these young people – and them to me
– was an extraordinary dose of
authenticity and sincerity. I also
believe that, through their eyes, they
could see that I was not "in it for the
minute." They could sense that my
concern for them was genuine. I didn’t
have to adopt them into my home
in order for them to know I cared.
Children and youth have a way of
getting into my heart and not getting
out. Well, children in general, but
especially those whose moms are
A special excerpt
from the book;
HOW’S YOUR HEART WORKING
IN THE VILLAGE?
missing in their lives.
Despite the "craziness" of some of
their situations, most of them got
through it, and I’m glad to know that
I played a small role in their doing so
– even if it was only in saying a
prayer on their behalf. As far as others,
who have not come through as
successfully as I might have liked, I
am confident that our crossing paths
had great purpose.
In the first section of the book,
"Entering The Village," I give some
brief profiles and scenarios of some
of the most memorable experiences
I’ve shared in my relationships with
various youths throughout the years.
Some of them have been gracious
enough to give their perspectives, as
they recall some of their experiences
of our relationships.
Some names have been changed to
protect the confidentiality of those
who I’ve been unable to connect with
for permission to use their real
names. However, I’m sure that any
number of young people, and the
relate to the
I hope that if
any of those
whose lives I’ve had the privilege to
sow seeds into happen to come across
this book, that they will recognize
themselves and the value of their
worth in my life and in this world.
In the second section, "Bringing The
Village Home," I share the unbelievable
journey of being a single
foster/adoptive parent loving her
children "for better or for worse." As
you will see, whether with the most
adorable little child, or the most hellacious
monstrosity of attitudes, the
roads through the village can start out
rocky and it can even end up rocky.
Nonetheless, for the reader who is
new to, or growing weary in the village
– whether as a mentor, teacher,
or caregiver – it is my desire that the
stories on these following pages will
help you know just how much of a
difference your presence can make in
a child’s life forever. That difference
works to overshadow the trials and
tribulations, and dispel any doubts
that may creep up in you.
So join me in my journey as I laugh,
cry, grieve, and grow with and for the
children and youth throughout the
village and right into my home.
Is He Talking To Me? - It’s A Boy!
"Mom!", "Mom!!" the young voice
called out again as I patiently waited
my turn in the cashier’s line at Toys
‘R Us in Monterey, California.
"Is he talking to me?" I heard myself
say. I turned my head just in time to
see the familiar little brown face,
with wide-eyed excitement, peering
right at me, and waving a toy in the
air. I don’t remember any details of
that toy or if we even bought it. What
I do remember, however, is that my
heart leaped to a whole new dimension
at the recognition of its new
role: "Mom." And my heart hasn’t
been the same since.
That was the first day of Bryant’s and
my very first face-to-face meeting.
We actually spent the entire weekend
together. Prior to that, we’d only seen
pictures of and read about each other.
We finally got to talk on the phone
the night before meeting. I was thirty-
one years old at the time, he was
nine, and we both wanted a family.
From a young age, I sensed deep
within that I would one day adopt
children. However, in my plan, there
were to be adoptive AND biological
children. Well, to those people’s dismay,
and mine, at age thirty-one I
adored and cherished four precious
godchildren, but none yet to call my
own, either by birth or adoption.
Even after working for two adoption
programs, my friends and colleagues
6 Foster Focus Volume 1 Issue 7
teased me over the fact that I’d managed
to leave the agencies without
"stealing one of those kids."
One day, while chatting with one of
the therapists where I worked, she
remarked, "Evelyn, you need some
children." Amazingly, less than 30
minutes after that conversation, I
received a phone call from a former
co-worker and friend who still
worked for the county adoption
agency I’d left in Monterey a little
more than a year before. She told me
there was a little boy on her caseload
whom she was seeking a placement
for, and that she and the staff instantly
thought about me.
I couldn’t believe it – especially
since I hadn’t submitted any application
She then went on to say, "He even
looks like you." My response to that
was, "Yeah, right. He’s a little Black
boy, I’m a Black woman; of course
we look alike." (She and the rest of
the staff were Caucasian). We
So in August 1988, I began my intimate
journey into a nine year old’s
heart. Then, on that beautiful, warm
October day in 1988, in that Toys ‘R
Us store, Bryant’s heart and mine
officially entered a mother-son bond,
evidenced by Bryant’s special term
of endearment towards me.
Little did we know that that weekend
would prove symbolic of our lives
together in the years to come. It
included a day of calm play and
laughter at the ocean in Pacific
Grove, as well as the thunderous, and
sometimes scary, adventures of the
Blue Angels’ air show at the
Monterey County Fairgrounds.
I stopped at See’s Candy store on the
way to work that Monday morning,
and reported to work with candy
suckers which exclaimed, "It’s A
Some of the questions from the
workbook "How's YOUR Heart
Working In The Village? include:
I first thought about becoming a
I knew it was time when ...
I do/don’t believe our meeting was
The first time I felt we’d made a connection
At that time I felt…
When things get rough in our relationship,
to reaffirm my reason for
making this choice, I can always
This Month's Guest Speaker
in Foster Focus
Evelyn “Ms. E” Polk
Reprinted From Foster Focus Magazine Foster Focus Volume 1 Issue 7 December 2011
7 Foster Focus Volume 1 Issue 7