Tabitha Beard was adopted as a young child. She now uses her experiences to help foster children understand and cope with their situation, and she wants to place them into great homes like she was.
Alexandria Rodriguez/Corpus Christi Caller-Times
While raising her on a farm in Wharton, Kim Beard knew her oldest daughter would choose a career that involved helping others.
Beard saw her daughter, Tabitha Beard, act as a “junior parent” to her three younger sisters, all four of whom were adopted by Kim and Michael Beard in 2000.
“I knew she had a strong desire to help others,” Kim Beard said. “She naturally is the type of person who likes to rescue or mother people.”
And her desire to help took over after Tabitha, 25, moved to Corpus Christi to go to graduate school at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Her desire led her to a Google search of “jobs that help people,” she said.
The search eventually led her to become an adoption specialist at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
“This (job) is a blessing,” Tabitha Beard said. “I tell my kids on my caseload, ‘I know what you’re going through.’ “
And through her own experiences, Tabitha Beard is able to create a bond with the children on her caseload.
By sharing her own experiences about the foster care and adoption process, the children are able to relate to her and be more open about how they are feeling, she said.
“I tell them, ‘You can be mad at me. I was made at my caseworker, too,’ ” Tabitha Beard said. “But I know they’re not really mad at me, they’re mad at the situation.”
She has not only given insight to the children on her caseload, she also has opened the eyes of her co-workers.
“I taught her quite a bit about the adoption process,” said Jamie Betancourt, Tabitha Beard’s mentor. “She taught us a lot as well. To listen to the children and be genuine. She opened our eyes to be better caseworkers.”
Tabitha Beard also uses her experience to spread awareness of adoption and foster care.
She recently spoke at a faith summit where she presented a speech on facts and statistics and also used her own experiences as a success story. Tabitha wanted people in the audience to not only understand the situation but to step up and do something about it, she said.
“She has a real passion for what she does,” Betancourt said. “She spreads the message of how important it is to foster and adopt.”
As an adoption specialist, Tabitha Beard wants to continue to work with children ages 12-18, who may have more issues that people overlook, she said.
She wants to pair children with the perfect family, like her caseworkers did for her and her three sisters.
“I think she’s a role model for them,” said Kim Beard, who also was adopted. “She would have wanted someone in the system that understood her.”
All the time she spends getting the children to open up and all the paperwork she completes for each child is worth it when she goes to the courthouse for their adoption day.
“When you stand in front of the judge, and he says the adoption is granted, it makes it all worth it,” Tabitha Beard said. “When we get up there I have flash backs to my own adoption. Every single time.”
Read or Share this story: http://callertim.es/2zAvkMd