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Fostering Love: Colorado family spotlighted for 'exceptional' work with foster children

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Four years ago, Sharita Richmond and Rita Baran made the decision to become a foster family with a goal of adopting children. Now, Richmond and Baron have a six-year-old son who they adopted last year, and a two-year-old who is in foster care.

May is National Foster Care Month, and the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) is spotlighting five “exceptional” foster families—including Richmond and Baran’s.

“I hope they inspire others to consider what they can do right now to make a difference for kids and families,” CDHS Executive Director Michelle Barnes said.

“The importance of being a foster family is to be able to open up your home to that child and help provide them with some of that healing and consistency and structure, and help them to grow and thrive,” Baran said.

Baran explained that in Colorado, there are always more foster kids than there are home available. “Which is just sad to think about these kids that really need a place to live and that home, and it’s a challenge to find that for them,” she said.

According to CO4Kids, in 2020, an average of 10 kids entered foster care every day in Colorado.

Baran and Richmond decided to become a foster family due to infertility.

“What’s important about this family is that it’s the family we chose,” Richmond said. “It’s a family that is right for us.”

“Family is life,” Richmond continued. “It’s love. It’s hope.”

While being a foster family does not define them, Baran said, “it’s a big part of who we are.” And the couple knows that one day, they’ll have to say goodbye to the foster children.

“In foster care, there is no way to protect your heart. You go into it full-on loving these kids, and knowing that you’re going to have your heart broken,” Baran. “You’re going to go into it loving that child with all you have, and if they leave, you know that it’s going to hurt. And it’s going to be hard...there is heartbreak.”

Even though that goodbye is sometimes inevitable, Richmond said the ultimate goal is to make “sure whatever we give them will make them better in the future, whether they’re here or somewhere else.”

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Brian Willie is the Content Production Manager at Rocky Mountain PBS. You can contact him at brianwillie@rmpbs.org.

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