Growing A Family Through Love and Faith
Growing A Family Through Love and Faith

Growing A Family Through Love and Faith

Nick and Tessa Brown believe in the power of foster parenting and adopting. That belief has carried them through challenges and changes and made them a family of seven.

“If you open your home, you will be blessed just as much as you are blessing that child,” said Tessa.

Years ago, Nick’s father and stepmother became foster parents with DePaul. They were prepared to foster only, not adopt. One of their early placements was Owen, a young boy looking for a forever family. At the time, Nick and Tessa had two children close in age to Owen. After countless play dates and conversations, Nick and Tessa felt called to bring Owen into their home, to be his forever family.

“It didn’t take long for my wife and I to decide that Owen was meant to be in our family, and we began the process to become foster parents through DePaul,” said Nick.

Owen was adopted in February 2013. The Browns then closed their home, but that was not the end of their foster-to-adopt journey.

Nick and Tessa had Grayson, Lillee, Owen, and then a happy surprise … a daughter Evy. As Evy grew older, Tessa felt her heart being called back to foster care and adoption. She had seen the way Owen had changed their family in the best ways and the strong bonds built by adoption. She was ready to open their home, but Nick was not quite there. Then, after a chance encounter with a Department of Social Services worker at a wedding, Nick felt his heart being called too. They sat each of their children down and asked how they felt about it. That is something they stress the importance of—open communication with the children already in your home, involving them in the process from start to finish.

“We talked with our kids and that was really when I became completely on board with the possibility of fostering to adopt again,” said Nick.

In March 2021, they welcomed 8-year-old Makinzy into their home. Soon, Evy and Makinzy were attached at the hip, doing everything together. But that is not to say those early days were without challenges. The family had to work through an adjustment period; Tessa and Nick had to learn how to be parents to Makinzy. One of their earliest discoveries in the parenting process was learning that Makinzy believed she had to lie to protect herself. That required some time and patience to address.

“The biggest thing was consistency, positive praise, and making her feel safe enough to tell the truth,” said Tessa.

The Browns are hoping to adopt Makinzy. They can’t imagine their family without her. And that’s what they tell people all the time in grocery stores, on sidewalks, in the park: their family has grown in so many ways because they opened their hearts and home. Their family has changed forever for the better because of their foster care and adoption journey.