Sharing the Foster Care Journey OnlineHow a Shelby County Family Became Foster Parents & Share the Experience Online
Carmen Bramucci was scrolling online when she stumbled upon the short film about foster care, Removed.
The video, she says, broke her heart and sent her and her husband on a three-year learning about foster care, foster care providers, and the Department of Children’s Services. She also spoke to current and former foster parents.
“We prayed about it, checked every statistic, read blogs, talked to people who were already fostering and adopting and did research on agencies we could foster through. We heard the most negative about DCS and that’s the one we chose because it meant DCS needed us most,’’ she said. “We heard everything, but we have had a great experience with DCS.”
The Bramuccis, parents of four children now ages 15 to 7, started foster parenting training classes called PATH, in 2016, less than a month after filling out the foster parent inquiry form
“What we wanted to do was give a child a family,” she said.
The Shelby County family announced its road to fostering by posting a photo on social media. They held a sign saying: “Our family is growing through foster care.”
The family wanted everyone in their circle to know they were thrilled to start a foster care journey. Two weeks after they were approved to be foster parents, two little girls were placed with them – an 8-year-old and her newborn sister.
The then-8-year-old walked in and said: “I heard that you were glad I was here.”
“She walked in, sat on the couch and fit right in,’’ Mrs. Bramucci said.
The hardest part? Meetings and court dates and DCS visits.
“It is definitely a little bit more than I expected, but we are doing it the best we can. You don’t have to do everything perfectly, you just have to be all in,” she said.
About those Online Photos
Foster parents must protect the identity and story of children in their care, so Mrs. Bramucci uses an app that places heart icons on the children’s faces before she posts them to her social media accounts. It allows them to share family moments while meeting the requirements.
She also uses the hashtag she created to promote foster care:
“I made #whatsonemore. I use that to encourage other people who already have kids to consider fostering or adopting a child who is waiting in care,’’ Mrs. Bramucci said.
To read more about the social media guidelines, visit the DCS foster parent website.
To learn more about becoming a Tennessee foster parent, please visit TNFosters.gov.