“Oh, Are You Babysitting?” A Story of a Black Woman Who Adopted 3 White Kids and Who Proves Love Sees No Color
In a world where there’s so much sadness and injustice all the time, good news is needed as often as possible so we don’t forget that kindness still exists. Unfortunately, a big part of the bad that surrounds us is racism and intolerance.
iBuzz would like to introduce you to Treka Engleman, the woman who said, “love is love, no matter the color,” and to her incredible story!
Treka has always wanted to be a foster mom.
Treka thought that she knew how to take care of children, because she’s always had a lot of experience thanks to babysitting and working in childcare. But little did she know that 3 kids would change her whole life.
She never thought that fostering could happen for her, because she was single and had no children of her own. However, she did some research and it turned out that she could in fact become a foster parent, as long as she was above the age of 21. So, after a period of consideration and planning and of talking to her family, she finally decided to go for it.
The adoption process proved to be a tough and long experience for her.
In August 2016, she called the St. Joseph Orphanage, because she needed to pass some classes before the process could continue. According to her, it was an emotional roller coaster. Some were easy, others very hard to sit through, after hearing what some of the kids in foster care go through. At that point she wanted to take in every kid she could!
As her classes were nearing their end, she had to think about the children’s gender, race, and age. She knew she wanted African-American or Caucasian, because color wasn’t an issue for her. “Love is love, no matter the color,” she said. For ages, she thought 4 to 5 would be good for her, and after finally being approved for up to 4 children, she decided it was go-time.
After getting approved she started working on achieving her dream.
St. Joseph told her that they could get a call at any given moment for a kid that needs a home. After that, they would submit her info and home study, and then she could get matched. Needless to say, she was waiting anxiously when one day she received a call that the orphanage had a 5-day-old that needed a home and she immediately wanted him. On December 8, Elijah Lee Hill came to her home and he became her first child!
That next year, on May 10, 2017, Treka received a call about a placement for 2 sisters, and of course, she said yes. Later that day, there was a knock on her door and one of the sisters arrived, her name was Alexis Bowman. Treka found out that her sister, Mercedes, had gotten into some trouble and had gone to a group home. So Treka and Alexis decided to visit her on the weekends so the 2 sisters could spend time together.
Treka and her family needed a bigger place and had started looking for a 3-bedroom apartment, which would’ve turned out to be a very good idea, because Alexis was missing her sister and Mercedes was ready to leave the group home. Treka’s caseworker was happy to try and help the sisters be together again. So, on March 16, 2018 Mercedes finally came to live with them and there they were, 30-year-old Treka Engleman and her 3 children, ranging from 1 to 15.
After successfully becoming a foster mom, she and her kids experienced obstacles.
She didn’t see color, she saw kids who needed a family and someone to love them, and she was ready to provide all of that and more to them. Her family has always been accepting of color. “My family doesn’t see color, just kids that needed someone,” she says. Treka claims she’s had her fair share of stares out in public and people asking her, “Oh, are you babysitting?” and her response has always been a proud “No, they are my children!” To her, they are not foster children, but simply children and that’s what they will always be.
From fostered children, Elijah, Alexis, and Mercedes were becoming her own children.
After a while, Treka asked if the kids would like to be adopted and they all said, “YES!” without a second thought. Her caseworker was also happy to help that happen, because in her mind Treka and her children were a perfect match.
The adoption process was intense and included a lot of paperwork. People were asking the children, alone, if that’s what they really wanted, if they wanted to keep their last names or change them. Treka started asking herself if she was enough, if she could give the kids what they needed, and her answer was always, “Yes and then some!” She had her family’s support too, but the most important thing to her was the way her children’s faces lit up when they realized they could get adopted.
November 1, 2019 was the happiest day of all 4 of their lives. It was the day they became Team Engleman! Treka went from being alone to having 3 kids and, finally, a family of her own.
Treka believes that helping a child find a home is one of the best feelings in the world.
Her message to people who say negative things about her, a black woman, who adopted 3 white kids is, “I am doing what most couldn’t do. These children are in a great home and have a loving mother. Love has no color with me and they are loved unconditionally. I have been talked about all my life, and that has never stopped me from doing what I was put here to do. I have a purpose and I plan to fulfill it! If you are considering fostering or adopting, I say go for it, if it’s in your heart to do it. Just knowing that you have helped a boy or girl find a home and a reason to be happy is one of the best feelings in the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re single, divorced, married, black, or white. You can change someone’s life!”
Do you have a beautiful story like this one to share with us and everybody else? If you do, please let us know and let’s all spread kindness and love to each other!
Preview photo credit Treka Engleman / Facebook