This past April 15, BCSSW hosted a unique event honoring the family of BCSSW student Eric Charette, and in particular, Eric’s mother Mary, who has fostered 237 children since 1979.
The panel discussion was moderated by Adam Pertman, president and founder of the National Center on Adoption and Permanency, and included the perspective of Eric and Mary, as well as some of Eric’s siblings. Conversation surrounded what it was like to be a part of this remarkable family, but also focused on how social workers can better serve children without parents, as well as families who foster and adopt.
The Charettes story was popular in the local press. Coverage included:
- A Mother’s Day column from Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham, “To Children in Need, She Always Says Yes,” which chronicled Mary’s more than forty years of fostering children without homes.
‘You can’t save the world,’ Mary Charette always says.
Maybe. But she’s gotten closer than most.
Her modest yellow house with the pink shutters has been home to 237 foster children since she and her husband, Paul, began taking them in four decades ago.
Mary and Paul always said yes. Yes to unlucky newborns and to broken teenagers. Yes to abused kids, and to those who had seen too much. Yes to kids who could not bear to be touched. Yes to brothers and sisters who could not bear to be separated. Yes to kids with brain damage, Down syndrome, dwarfism, and autism. Yes, because where else were they going to go?
- The BC Chronicle’s Sean Smith covered the adoption event at BCSSW itself, in an article entitled “Lessons for Life.”
As [Eric] Charette has settled into adulthood, his parents’ unstinting commitment has provided a model for his personal life, but also his professional one, during which he has made a career transition from the military to human services.
Among the things Charette has learned from Nana and Papa, and his many siblings, is that family is a matter of ‘bond, not blood,’ quoting author Richard Bach. It’s a lesson he feels is an important one for those whose job is to assist foster children and families in finding support and services they need.
- In addition, BC Public Affairs produced a video featuring interviews with Mary and Eric, as well as renowned adoption expert BCSSW Professor Ruth McRoy.