Tameka Hewitt is proud of the blended family of five she and her husband Rohan have together. Their children, who range in age from four to 20, “may not always get along, but they love each other and show by their actions what a united family looks like.”
Despite the time commitments of being a parent, a spouse and a 19-year insurance executive, Tameka has always wanted to give back to her community.
“As I was earning my social work degree at University of Saint Joseph, we were asked in a class assignment to write our own obituaries; what would we accomplish and be remembered for? That helped me articulate a goal and a passion that had been brewing in me for a long time; in addition to my other goals, I always wanted to be a foster parent,” she relates.
As their children got older, Tameka explored foster parenting programs. After attending a therapeutic foster care orientation session at The Village, she decided it was time to help at-risk kids who needed a safe, stable place to live and grow. “It took me a while to convince Rohan, but he knew how much I wanted to help other kids in our community,” she smiles. The couple participated in an 11-week training course and an evaluation process.
Tameka and Rohan are currently foster parents to a 16-year-old girl and her 12-year-old brother who are unable to live with their biological mother. “We thought it would be great for the foster children who joined our home to learn how our kids interact as a family,” Tameka explains. “It’s been helpful for them to have other young people they can talk things through with.”
“As foster parents, it’s our job to make sure our foster kids are safe and cared for. That they are secure in reaching out to us and talking through their fears. That they have what they need to grow,” says Tameka. “The Village supports us with a number of resources, such as tutoring for our foster son and mentors for our foster daughter. Case workers visit our home weekly to talk to the children as well as check in with the family. During these meetings the children are given the opportunity to discuss their experiences within the home as well as any experiences related to school and the community where they live.”
“The Village’s therapeutic foster care program understands that developing trust and support is a gradual process,” Tameka says. “They give us the time to build a relationship with our foster kids. We also attend monthly touch-base sessions at The Village with other foster parents. During these sessions we talk through common issues, challenges and participate in information sessions to further develop our skills and understanding of therapeutic care.
“While Rohan and I will never take the place of our foster kids’ biological parents, we want to be seen as protectors, advisors and role models who help them heal, thrive and move forward in their lives.”
“As foster parents, it’s our job to make sure our foster kids are safe and cared for. That they are secure in reaching out to us and talking through their fears. That they have what they need to grow.”