Stevie Burrows, center, sits with adoptive parents Bob and Becky Provost. The Provosts have been an active part of the Essex County foster program, having housed many children from newborns to teens.
Stevie Burrows is preparing to enter her final semester of college, and she has her foster family to thank for it.
“Half of the things I have done in my life I probably would have never done if I had not been here,” Burrows said next to her foster mother, Becky Provost. “It was an experience that opened up my eyes.”
For Provost, Burrows is one of the many success stories that have come from her time being a foster parent through Essex County.
“Fostering gets perceived as a negative, and that is not the case at all,” Provost said. “Most of the kids that we get are from situations where you have to teach the parents to be parents again. Foster parents must be willing to work with the parents so the kids can go home. We have had kids as short as a couple of days right through to years.”
Provost said that in her time as a foster parent, she had been “blessed” with some good kids.
“There was only one time we had a problem where we had to have a kid removed,” she said. “They tell you to treat the kids like your own. If you give your kids 20 presents for Christmas, then get them 20 presents.”
Burrows was adopted by the Provost family and said the transition was tough at first.
“When I got here, six of the seven siblings were here and then we all got dispersed,” she said. “There was the jealously that I think you are going to have between the new kids and the kids that are already here, but everyone was pretty welcoming and there were two kids here that were my age, so that helped.”
Still, Burrows said it was a long adjustment process.
“I didn’t know what to think when I was placed here in foster care, but I didn’t think it was going to be good,” she said. “I didn’t get along with my mom for at least five years.”
“She has come a long way,” Provost said. “She has come all the way to the point where she is graduating in December, and I think that is a pretty remarkable accomplishment.”
Provost said that while some people get into the foster parenting program, with the intent to adopt, the program is about more than that.
“Judge (Richard) Meyer is a firm believer of doing everything that we can to put the child back with the family instead of in foster care,” she said. “It is very rare to be able to adopt a baby from foster care.”
However, Provost has been able to make a couple of adoptions, including Burrows.
“We started in foster care because we had three daughters and because of health reasons the doctor recommended no more pregnancies,” she said. “I wanted a son, and we were able to adopt Antonio when he was four months old.”
Essex County is currently seeking those interested in being foster parents. For more information, call the Essex County Foster and Adoptive Home Finding office at 873-3422.