Kim & Kristyn Carver
and \”The 3 Carver Girls\”
In the fall of 2012, Kim & Kristyn Carver were invited to attend a gala in Washington, DC hosted by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. Being the adoptive parents of two little girls, sisters, honoring those doing extraordinary work in the fields of adoption and foster care was a perfect fit for the Carvers. But, little did they know that event would be the beginning of a major change for their family.
“We were busy professionals raising two toddlers at the time,” shares Kristyn, a professor of psychology and counseling at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. “We knew nothing about foster care at the time, the plight of vulnerable children in care or the biological and foster families who care for them. There are so many constraints on the system and we were in the dark.”
Inspired to become more involved in Louisiana’s foster care system, Kim & Kristyn were hit with some incredible news as soon as they returned home. The birth mother of their adopted daughters had given birth to another baby who had been placed into foster care. Immediately, the Carvers began advocating for the new baby, and that’s when they learned that if they became certified foster parents, she could be placed in their home with her sisters.
“Once we began the journey into becoming foster parents, we learned that the system was broken and not functioning well due to repeated years of budget cuts and a dearth of quality foster families for the state to use as a resource,” Kim says. “We were working to bring a child into our home with her family and realized the need of a system overwhelmed by limited resources.\”
Based on their experience, the Carvers decided to do what they could to make a difference. Fast forward a few years, and much has changed. First, they formally adopted their youngest daughter at the age of two, and “The 3 Carver Girls” as their parents and family refer to them, are thriving, energetic and passionate children.
Secondly, through Crossroads NOLA, a faith based nonprofit , Kim and Kristyn help recruit, support and train foster families. Thanks to the faith based community, it has really taken hold and now has a network of over 60 church partners.
Kristyn uses her formal education in trauma interventions to train hundreds of professionals involved in the foster system, including judges, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers, caseworkers from the Department of Children & Family Services, attorneys, foster families, and teachers.
“We are giving the people who care for our most vulnerable children a common language and a set of strategies to bring healing to those who have been impacted by the trauma of abuse, neglect and separation. The results are confirming what we know from the science – connection and trust in meaningful relationships with caregivers and adults improve outcomes for our children and their families.”
Kim and Kristyn are also thrilled to work with First Lady Donna Edward on her initiative – Louisiana Fosters, which brings together government, non-profit, faith and community leaders and organizations to help support foster parents and children.
“We all have skills, resources or connections that can improve outcomes for children and families on the underside of power,” Kim says. “It has been amazing to see the lift Louisiana Fosters and its many partners around the state have made to our state’s foster care system.”
“Many people look at our family and mention how fortunate our daughters are to have been adopted – to be given family and connection,” Kim says. “In all actuality – Kristyn and I are the lucky ones in this deal. In all of this, God gave us a powerful faith.”
“He is right,” Kristyn says. “We are the lucky ones.”