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When a 4-year-old child witnesses a traumatic event and needs a home, many people are asked to step up and help. Too often, however, there are few who answer the call. Fortunately, one particular 4-year-old was given a place to stay in the home and heart of a relative, Robyn Barbee. She became a foster parent and instantly treated him as her own, giving him the support, patience, and services to cope with his trauma. As much as we want to believe that love is all it takes for a happily-ever-after, we know that life will throw as many challenges at you as it possibly can. Even when you have the best of intentions.

Robyn Barbee is a Black, transgender woman living in Kansas City and has faced her fair share of obstacles in life. Fostering, she thought, would be different. She was caring for a child and trying to get him what he needed to survive and thrive. However, time and time again she was ignored, dismissed, and denied support because of who she is. She tried talking to her caseworker but was ignored. She tried calling her case worker’s supervisor, but her concerns were dismissed entirely. She was alone with her son, pleading for help, with no one there to listen.

Finally, after 3 hard years of drudging through a system working against her, she contacted FosterAdopt Connect. A family advocate experienced with systemic injustice spoke with her and assured her that her experiences were valid and her foster son deserved help. He began attending meetings with her, making phone calls alongside her, and guiding her on her journey through the biased system. By adding his voice to hers, the system finally started to hear her. What they heard was a passionate, determined, woman who would not be prevented by a stubborn system from helping her foster son live a happy, healthy, and safe life.

Last fall, Robyn adopted her son after 6 frustrating years. With the help of FosterAdopt Connect and the family advocate, she navigated a biased system built against her and came out the other side with her son and a well-deserved happily-ever-after.

Many cases like Robyn’s happen every day in the foster care system, some of which have drastically different endings. Not everyone knows where to get help, or even that help is available. If you want to see the system work for people like Robyn, click here to find out how to get involved and start helping families like hers today.