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Bette Hoxie 2018 Maine Mother of the Year

April 3, 2018


Meet Bette Hoxie, 2018 Mother of the Year!

Bette Hoxie was raised in a two-parent household with 4 siblings. Her parents provided strong family values and unconditional love. Financially the family struggled, however there was always a meal on the table and room for anyone in need. With a strong foundation, it was natural when married for the couple to share their love of children and caretaking. The two were scout leaders, Sunday school teachers, literacy volunteers and Bette ran a daycare. They also provided foster care. They parented together until his death in 1997. As the mother of three children by birth, 8 through adoption and as a foster mother to over 150 children, gaining perspectives on parenting and its joys and challenges has been a huge piece of Bette’s identity for over 50 years. In more recent years parenting grandchildren as a legal guardian makes up much of Bette’s passion to advocate for positive change.

Bette’s Thoughts on Parenting:

My parenting philosophy is essentially that parenting requires an ability to guide and direct with patience and understanding while loving unconditionally. My faith guides me as a parent and as such I include the philosophies of my faith into my parenting. I understand that as adults the children may and frequently do choose another way to worship or may choose not to believe in God at all. I set the foundation and hope and pray that the children include faith in their adult lives. Each child is different and unique and therefore at times may respond to different types of guidance and direction from their siblings and their peers. Structure and consistency are needed to parent but finding a balance which includes the time for fun is essential to forming healthy self-images which is my goal as a mother.

Bette and her Community:

Bette was fortunate enough to assist in the formation of a statewide support system for foster, adoptive and kinship families. A small group of dedicated parents (including Bette herself) formed Adoptive and Foster Families of Maine, Inc. and the Kinship Program (AFFM). Bette served as the Executive Director of the grass root organization from 1997 until November of 2017. During her tenure, the organization grew from serving a few hundred families to over 5000 annually.  The organization started in a one room office with no funding relying totally on volunteers and donations to becoming contracted with the Maine Department of Child and Family Services with a very large budget and two sizable offices located strategically in the state.

Bette has been passionate about raising awareness on the effects of alcohol on the unborn child and most recently, about the opioid crisis in the state of Maine and across the country.  She has spoken at numerous forums on these topics, including the Senate Committee on Aging in Washington DC.  Bette is particularly focused on developing resources for grandparents who are more frequently becoming the caretakers of children whose parents suffer with opioid addiction.

Bette says, “My foster son, his wife, and baby reside with me. As a result of their addiction to opioids, the couple was in danger of losing their newborn to foster care. The couple has now been clean and sober for over a year. As a result of their success, the media became very interested in my care taking provided to this family. My family and I were interviewed by the Washington Post as well as multiple state and national news stations. In the midst of assisting the family, I became the guardian of a two-year-old boy whose parents also struggle with addiction. I laugh when I think about how I imagined my retirement and the reality that at 71, I am now a full-time mother (again!) to an active toddler who is diagnosed with autism.”

What Others are Saying About Bette:

I found that in my own parenting journey, I needed some advocacy for my own child who as it turned out, came to me as a medically fragile child at a young age. I had a meeting with the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Health & Human Services approximately eight years ago. While I am well educated, I was anxious and apprehensive to meet with her and her team. Bette eagerly accompanied me! She often does this level of advocacy in her role as Director of Adoptive and Foster Families of Maine. She is level-headed and calm. I benefited immensely from her skill level that day as my emotions often overwhelm me when I am working hard to acquire the necessary services for my daughter who grapples with very rare diseases for which few people understand. Bette provides terrific services to the people of Maine. Tamara J. Hunt, Ph.D.Adjunct Professor, Counselor Education, Husson University

Bette has set an example to so many mothers, fathers and policy makers in Maine.  Our excellent system of care would not be where it is today without her advocacy.  Many of us in the field owe our professionalism and family size to the examples she set before us. Travis Bryant, Director of Services, Adoptive and Foster Families of Maine, Inc. & The Kinship Program