Local couple advocates for Foster Care Awareness
May recognizes National Foster Care Awareness. With over 400 children in foster care in Pennington County alone, the need for help is immense.
Rebecca and Ryan Callahan both have past, personal experiences that shaped them into being passionate about helping children in need.
They began their foster care journey 5 years ago and in 2018 adopted Annabeth and Silvestre and continue to foster other children as well.
Rebecca says, “I don’t ever want a kid to feel like they are doing life alone. I want them to know that they have somebody in their court and to support them and walk through the hard things with them.”
Foster care comes with many preconceived ideas, many Rebecca says are not true, like you have to have an ideal situation or life in order to open up your home.
“I don’t think that anyone needs to be perfect to do it. I think you just jump in and you learn as you go; they don’t expect perfect. They just want somebody to see them and know them fully and love them,” says Rebecca.
Children in the foster care system may be suffering from trauma that manifests into certain behaviors, but Rebecca ensures that with love and consistency, they can move forward, saying, “A lot of those behaviors subside so quickly whenever they know they are in a safe loving home and every meal is going to be there.”
Ryan has even written about the concept, that healing happens at the dinner table. And with the help of a place mat and the feeling of belonging — true healing can begin.
Ryan says, “Trauma is all about moving somebody from survival in the brain, to thriving in the brain.”
Their daughter tells her story to many people and is even inspired to spread the love when she grows up.
Annabeth says, “So I talked about how I was in foster care, about how I was scared and lonely … I want to foster kids when I’m a grown up.”
The Callahans encourage everyone to get involved with helping children in foster care on some level.
Ryan says, “I think one, it’s awareness, but beyond awareness, its action. And I think just looking at, maybe I can’t foster a kid, well could you be a CASA worker, could you be a wrap around family to support a family member. Where can I — not my neighbor- where can I be a part of this.”
For more information on becoming a foster parent, contact the Department of Social Services at 394-2525 or click here.
Click here for the link to Ryan’s book, ‘Save the World, Buy a Place mat.’
Click here for more information on CASA.