In 2009, Katina Jackson was approached by a close family friend about becoming a foster parent. Both Mrs. Jackson and her husband, John, had always wanted to contribute to their community in some way. After much discussion between themselves and their two daughters they contacted Edwin Gould to begin the process of becoming a foster family.
Seven years later they are now the proud parents of eight children, six of whom were adopted through Edwin Gould.
The Jackson’s became foster parents with the intent to adopt; it was always their goal to expand the family and make a lasting and permanent contribution to the community of foster care. Family has always been their number one priority.
When we caught up with them for this article they were in court to finalize their sixth and final adoption.
“This is it, we’re not going to adopt any more” claimed Katina, a small smile danced across her face as she looked at her husband across the room.
“That’s what she said last time,” her husband John remarked. “It was Valentine’s Day 2013 and I had come home from work. She told me she had a surprise for me and when I walked into the house there was Evelyn. I wasn’t really happy with the surprise but it was Evelyn who changed my mind, she just grew on me,” John nodded towards a shy little four year old who was quietly playing with a bracelet and leaning against Katina’s leg.
John told me he and Katina were skeptical at first having heard some disparaging stories from other parents during their MAPP training, a requirement for all foster parents.
“We was worried there would be conflicts between our biological children and the foster kids,” John admitted. They were very concerned about placing unnecessary stress on their existing family dynamic. Would it be disruptive? Would the new child dominate the household, and create unsafe scenarios within their home?
“What if the match don’t work, would we be able to handle any conflicts that might come up? But none of that happened, it’s been nothing but wonderful,” both John and Katina remarked. All their anxieties were for naught as the experience has been extremely positive.
“It has been a phenomenal experience knowing we have made a positive impact on a child’s life,” Katina said,as she looked at her two youngest daughters sitting on a bench playing with toys from a gift bag.
John and Katina Jackson, both raised in Brooklyn, are high school sweet hearts and have been married for 26 years. Both come from large families so having one themselves only seemed natural.
To date, the Jackson’s have adopted three sets of siblings, and have fostered another three. All of the adoptions were done with Gerald Brumskine at Edwin Gould. Mrs. Jackson spoke so highly of Gerald and the exemplary service she received from him.
“Make sure you mention Gerald in your article because we could not have done this without him” Katina said earnestly taking me by the arm and looking me squarely in the face. “Gerald explained everything, followed through, always responded immediately to my phone calls and answered all of my questions. He made me feel really comfortable and made the process really easy.”
Katina’s last words of wisdom to any perspective foster parents were, “don’t let the children lose their identity, they should always know where they come from and their history.”
Mojisola and Gerald, along with Edwin Gould, are a part of hundreds of children’s histories and proud of it.
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