In the midst of memes, quick content, and discord, there are still people using social media for a more wholesome reason. People like Christine, a former foster youth in search for her former foster parent, Banetta.
“My birth name is Christine Rowland and I was a foster youth in the 90’s that was blessed to live with Banetta Bacchi. I am hoping someone could point me in her direction so that I can thank her for giving me a chance when nobody else would and let her know that because of the support she gave me, I am a happy person who is now a foster parent,” Christine posted to a local community page.
With the help of a few quick shares on social media, Banetta and Christine were able to reconnect.
When Christine entered Banetta’s home at 17 years old, she spent around 2 years in her care. Banetta provided Christine with the support and encouragement to be a normal teenager. She helped Christine get her driver’s license, encouraged her to hangout with friends, and allowed her to have get-togethers in their home. Banetta described Christine as “a quiet young lady who loved animals”, whose judgment she could always trust.
Christine’s experience in Banetta’s home was exactly what we hope for when matching a teen in foster care with a resource parent.
With the many great memories, there is one Christine holds closest to her heart. She recalls, “When I went to Homecoming with the guy I was completely infatuated with (which I later married), while I was at the restaurant with him I became so nervous that I had to call her and talk to her just to calm down. She reminded me that it was okay to be nervous and to breathe. She stayed on the phone with me until I was calm again and encouraged me to have fun.”
More than 20 years later, here Christine is with Banetta’s handprint forever in her heart.
When Christine was asked about her experience in Banetta’s home, she responded, “Banetta was great to me. She encouraged me to get my driver’s license and be a regular teenager. I was very angry with my birth family and she always validated my feelings while never disrespecting my family. She even encouraged me to work on my feelings, which has resulted in me having a healthy relationship with my mom. Banetta would cook with me, let me have friends over, allowed me to express myself in a healthy manner through my appearance and thoughts, and included me in family activities. I experienced Homecoming and Senior Prom because of her. I saw the value in myself and my education because of her.”
Our heartstrings were pulled when finding out what an impact Banetta had on Christine’s life. Banetta herself expressed the absolute humbling and overwhelming feeling when finding out how she affected Christine’s life. As Christine grew up into the woman Banetta helped her become, she knew she was called to become a foster parent with hopes she could impact a life like Banetta did hers.
“Banetta was the factor that made me decide to be a foster parent. She turned my life around and opened my eyes to acknowledge my potential and strength. I wanted to help other youths find their inner strength and become even more successful than I am.”
Currently, Christine has five youth in her home, three of which she has become the legal guardian of. “Being a foster parent is challenging, but when you see a child grow and blossom it is worth it. I sometimes sit back and wonder if I can continue, but then I think about the love that Banetta gave me and how I am who I am today because of her, and decide to push on.”
Lanni Jackson, Contributor
Special thanks to Christine and Banetta for sharing their story with us!