In a special live edition of FamilyLife Today, hosts Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine interviewed two former CCAI Foster Youth Interns, Chey Gethers and Mary Lee. Chey and Mary spoke about their lives in the foster care system, the struggles they encountered and the people that helped them get to where they are today.
Chey entered the foster care system when she was a senior in high school. Her parents were alcoholics who abused and neglected her. Chey spent weeks at a time at friends’ houses, until one of her friend’s parents called the Department of Child Services (DCS). When her parents were informed that DCS would be making a home visit, they cleaned up the house and stopped drinking. But as soon as DCS left, things went back to the way they were.
After being kicked out of the house in the middle of the night, Chey called her case manager, who was able to see the reality of the situation and removed Chey from her parents’ care. The system would have put her in a group home because of her age, but Chey’s church decided that the state wasn’t doing enough to help her and they decided to “adopt” her. Her seventh grade Sunday school teacher, Sherry, stepped up to share her home with Chey. At her recent wedding, when the celebrant asked who gave Chey to be married, the whole congregation stood and said, “We do!” Chey now lives in Nashville and works as an analyst for the FBI.
Similar to Chey, Mary also entered foster care because she had been abused and neglected. When she was 16, after spending four years in foster care, Mary decided that what she really wanted was a forever family, so she went to court and had the judge terminate her parental rights. She was eligible for adoption at an age that many people considered “unadoptable.”
Mary made a scrapbook of her life to show potential adoptive families. One day, her adoption worker brought Mary a book made for her by a family that wanted to adopt her. When she opened it, she saw that it was the family of her DCS case manager. Now Mary is recently engaged, living in Memphis and working as an attorney and Business Development Specialist for Youth Villages, a non-profit that works with high-risk children and their families.
The program’s hosts had a surprise in store for Chey and Mary! Sherry, Chey’s seventh grade Sunday school teacher, and Scott, Mary’s former DCS case manager and adoptive father surprised them on stage! You can listen to the entire interview (including the surprise!) here: http://bit.ly/SgPuNf