‘It Takes a Mom’ interview series highlights our recent Mother of the Year® honorees by sharing their stories every week. These moms from across the country contribute to our collective voice as mothers. They show us how they harness their maternal energy and how it really does take a mom to do it all! Here’s our interview with Shelia Brookins, the 2021 Kentucky Mother of the Year®.
What does it mean to you being named mother of the Year for your state?
It’s an honor. As a mother, you’re always selfless and you’re not looking for any recognition for it. So for somebody to acknowledge and feel that the role you play is so important that they would nominate you at all is a blessing.
What do you love most about being a foster mom?
It’s giving them the opportunity to see how a functioning family looks because they’ve been through so much dysfunction. Once they come in, they’re a member of Team Brookins. Whether they move on to another home or choose not to stay with us, they’re always a part of our home. We give them something stable and show them love, so when they move on, they can at least have an idea of what that looks like.
How long have you been a foster parent?
We started in 2011, the year my husband deployed, and as soon as he left, I got four foster children, and they were a blessing to us. They kept me so busy, I didn’t have time to miss my husband. Everybody thought we were a blessing to them, but it really was the other way around. It’s been a blessing to be able to be a part of something greater than myself.
How do you encourage your foster kids or your own kids to not give up?
For my kids, like my son, we first started fostering when he was only eight years old, and I told him ‘This is our job. We love and it’s our job to show that love to somebody else.’ For the kids that come into our home, I tell them that God is blessing them, that they are here for a reason, that God has a plan for them, and that if God doesn’t give up on them, then they shouldn’t give up on themselves. I tell them to not be a victim of their circumstances and to show the world that they’re more than a foster child.
We’ve had foster kids who’ve decided that they wanted to leave our home and move on, but even the ones that have moved on come back and say ‘I appreciate what you did. I didn’t understand at that time but I do appreciate what you did for us.’Shelia Brookins, 2021 Kentucky Mother of the Year®
American Mothers’ Golden Rule Movement provides a platform for women who embody the selfless caring spirit of motherhood, and who are using that maternal energy to make the world a better place. How would you say you exemplify the Golden Rule in your everyday life?
I haven’t been through everything, but I had my son when I was only 16. I had another daughter and I raised one of my sisters, so when I and my husband met, I had been a single mother for about 13 years. I’ve lived single and I’ve lived broke, and I understand just as well what is to be married and also being a single parent trying to take care of your kids. I just try to be there for people. I try to be an open ear. I try to be understanding and I try to be someone that they feel comfortable talking to. I try to make sure people understand they’re not alone and can overcome anything.
Shelia Brookins is a proud military spouse, doting mother, active child of Christ, and “serial volunteer.” She currently works for VetJobs CASY (Corporate America Supports You) helping our current and retired military, and their spouses find employment. She was named the 2018 Armed Forces Insurance National Guard Spouse of the Year in recognition of her volunteer work in the community. Shelia and her husband 1st Sgt Darrell Brookins raised six children, two of her sisters, and a host of foster children. Team Brookins is in the process of adopting a sibling group currently in their care. As a supermom, she’s able to be the CEO of Team Brookins, work a full-time job, volunteer for numerous school, church, and military organizations, and still found time in 2017 to get her master’s degree from Liberty University.
Do you have moms in your life you’d like to nominate for the Mother of the Year® honor? Nominate them today!