Senator and Activist Discuss Foster Care in Bermuda

 Senator and Activist Discuss Foster Care in Bermuda
Senator and Activist Discuss Foster Care in Bermuda
Nadine Bernadette Browne-Evans Henry’s 48th birthday was approaching when she decided to do something a little bit different. She then realized that it is also coming up on the 40th anniversary of her being officially adopted by the late PLP stalwart, former Attorney General and former Opposition Leader Dame Lois Browne-Evans and her husband.
“ I felt that I needed to do something that signified [my gratitude towards being adopted], so I wanted to support others who were in a similar position,” Ms. Henry said. “ Knowing Senator Lindsay Simmons and the work that she has done and recognizing that there is no adoption agency in Bermuda, I realized that the closest thing would be foster care.”
Ms. Henry actually became a foster parent herself when she was in her mid-20s and had just begun teaching. From her experiences, children recognize that life inside a home is very different from what they would normally experience.
For the entire year, Ms. Henry will be helping to host different fundraisers for the Foster Parents Association and has already helped raise money. Ms. Henry presented the Foster Parents Association with a check just under a thousand dollars.
Senator Simmons, president of the Foster Parent Association, is also a foster parent and has even adopted a daughter, getting her while she was still in the hospital. One of the reasons why she believes that the adoption process in Bermuda might be so difficult is because it does not happen too often to too many kids.
“ I actually sat down with my daughter last year to tell her that she is adopted . . . because I didn’t really want anyone else to tell her first,” she said. “ I told her from birth until she was seven years old that she was born in my heart and that I dreamed about her before she was even born. Aside from our skin color being different, it’s just like I gave birth to this child and she is [part of] the reason why I fight so hard for children.”
Ms. Simmons encourages anyone to get involved in foster care or even adoption if they can, because so many children in Bermuda are still displaced or in unsafe homes.
“ Loosening the red tape [between fostering and adopting at this time] is difficult because birth parents have rights,” she said. “ I had to fight to get full-custody control of my daughter from her birth father.”
“ The island’s small size also makes adopting more difficult and a lot of people here choose not to go down that route because of the family dynamics,” she continued. “ It takes a good person to realize that children need more than blood relations; they need someone who will take care of them.”
 According to her, it takes adequate food, clothing and shelter, as well as a lot of family support, to raise children. In fact, if it weren’t for the help of her family, she would not be able to raise her daughter, as she is also a single mom.
People who wish to find out more about the Foster Parent Association, listed as registered charity no.620, can email Ms. Simmons directly at lindsaysimmons@hotmail.com
Ms. Henry concluded by thanking her adopted late parents,  sister and brother as she feels it was a team effort to manage, support and showered her with love.

 

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Trevor Lindsay

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