Carla Trier has a radio voice, and you want to listen when she speaks.
It’s sultry and earnest and sparkles when she talks about the nine children she has fostered/mentored as a single parent.
Her first foster daughter was seven years old when she arrived on New Years Eve 2012.
“She came only with a sack of things,” Carla said.
“She was sobbing, and I made a pretty fast decision that this wasn’t the way things should work.” she said.
That clarity lead to the Sheridan Foster Parent Exchange.
Carla said, “Children are removed from parents quickly, and that usually meant stuffing a few things into a trash bag as they are taken from the parents.”
But awareness is changing, and evidence of that are duffle bags often replacing plastic bags when children are picked up.
“That makes the little ones’ self images a lot different than arriving at a new home with a garbage bag,” she said.
Carla was a foster child, but unlike most children she encounters, she was sent with a suitcase and a teddy bear under her arm.
Change is also seen in Sheridan in the form of both children and the foster parents receiving help faster.
Children immediately receive 7 days worth of clothes, hygiene kits, towels, handmade quilts, coats, shoes, socks and underwear, pajamas, books, and stuffed toys.
Yet it’s not about handing a child a bag.
“Sometimes they’ve never had things that are their own, and we don’t ask for anything back,” Carla said.
As well, foster parents, grandparents, and biological parents reuniting with their families are all supported by this 501(c)3 nonprofit.
What Carla Would Like You to Know
“People say foster care is something they could never do.” Carla said.
“They’re afraid they’ll get attached to a kid and then they’ll leave”
To Carla, though, if you don’t give it your all, you’re not serving yourself or the child.
“The love they know when they are with you may be the only time they experience that in their lives.
“That might be the only place they have to go back to in their minds.”
“Every child who winds up doing well has had at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive adult.”
Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University
“It’s not always been easy with my kids,” Carla said.
Yet her support is unwavering.
“The love they know when they are with you may be the only time they experience that in their lives. That might be the only place they have to go back to in their minds.”
“I tell all my kids, I am not going to give up.
“I say, ‘Hey, I love you.
‘Hey, you matter.
‘Hey, you made my day special.
‘My day is always better with you in it.'”
“Those are things they may not hear in their lives,” she said.
“I just keep showing up.”
• Donate to the Sheridan Foster Parent Exchange.
• Watch a 90-second video on Sheridan Foster Parent Exchange narrated by Carla Trier.
• Learn about a similar organization in Laramie, Wyoming
• Watch the feature film, “Instant Family,” based on director Sean Anders’ own experience adopting his three foster children. From the movie’s website learn more about fostering and adoption, and volunteering with the foster care system as a tutor, mentor, and more.
• Read about other organizations doing great work in Wyoming:
– Wyoming Foundation for Cancer Care Sees Far Beyond Medical Needs
– Climb Wyoming Breaking Multi-Generational Single Mom Cycle of Poverty
• Listen to Josh Shipp, a former foster child, talk about The Power of One Caring Adult
• • •
Ellen Synakowski (she/her/hers) lives in Laramie, Wyoming. Her website is EllenSynakowski.com. She is a Registered Craniosacral Therapist (RCST), is on the Board of Directors of the Biodynamic Craniosacral Association of North America (BCTA/NA), and is a practitioner of both HeartMath and The Connection Practice.
“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” — C. West