In 2007 I had my beautiful daughter Makendra. It was the most amazing moment of my life and I knew that I had been forever changed. I was in love instantly….excited….scared…. hopeful…all the wonderful feelings that come with being a new mom.
Five days before Makendra turned two I was diagnosed with colon cancer and Lynch Syndrome and the outcome did not look promising. I needed numerous surgeries, radiation, chemo, and a hysterectomy. I felt like my little family was being taken away before it really even started. I fought hard because of the strong bond of my family and friends, and soon I will mark 10 years cancer free.
Surviving cancer made me look at things differently, and after careful thought and consideration we made the decision to grow our family. Having another child wasn’t in the cards for me, so we started our journey of adoption.
Throughout the process we had had many highs and lows, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Anyone who thinks you cannot love a foster child like their own has never fostered a child. We have adopted our Genevieve who is now 5. She was placed with us very ill at 15 months old and the first year was quite a struggle. She has flourished into a beautiful, spicy little lady.
We have fostered many children who have returned home or been assigned to live with relatives. I will never get used to the pain of a child leaving but I am proud that my husband and I were able to provide a loving home to get them through a hard time. We have had some children for 4 days just to help out and some for almost two years. People think it is noble to foster but the truth is that these children keep me going. My husband, our children and I stand strong together as a united front to help these children. When you see them grow and learn, when they start to trust, when they love you and you love them, there is no better feeling in the world. We work to support the birth parents when appropriate and try to create a natural support system for the children.
In Connecticut, we have a mentoring program to help new foster families called “Buddies”. I am proud to be a Buddy to many new families and provide support, encouragement and just be there to talk to. It helps to know you are not alone.
I encourage anyone who would like more information about fostering or adopting to contact their local Department of Children and Families to find out more information. I will not say that the lifestyle is right for everyone but these children need amazing families… and no one is more amazing than the group of moms in American Mothers.
Karen Wolcott is the 2019 Connecticut Mother of the Year. In 1994 she founded and was President of the Community Service club at her high school and was awarded numerous scholarships for her community service involvement and her engineering spirit. Karen volunteered at the Animal Rescue Foundation for many years and was an integral part of getting the shelter reopened. She is a certified girl scout leader and has worked with the Daisy Scouts. Karen is a foster mom who also serves as a mentor for new foster families in New Haven County, hosting between 5 and 20 families at a time. As a cancer survivor, Karen has helped other cancer survivors through community outreach programs, by providing support and encouragement, and donating funds Karen is a Justice of the Peace and was recently awarded the 2018 Couple Choice Award from Wedding Wire. She is a Notary Public and serves on the Membership Board of the Farmingbury Women’s Club. Karen Mowad currently serves as the Town Clerk of Wolcott and the Registrar of Vital Statistics. She was previously Assistant Town Clerk for 12 years and Asst. Registrar of Vital Statistics for 16 years. Karen has worked to preserve historic records while moving technology forward. She treats her customers with dignity, respect and kindness. Karen is a Certified Municipal Officer and town official. Read more about Karen here…