Despite having a loving and supportive adoptive family, Faith grew up always having unsettling feelings about being adopted. She would often catch herself thinking about her birth family. Without fail, each year on her birthday she would wonder if her birth mom ever thought about her. While growing up, she felt as if she had no place to go and no one to talk to that understood the reasons why she felt incomplete. She came from an era where adoption was viewed as a solution to a problem with no concern for the future ramifications that stem from the complexity of the adoption experience. For these reasons Faith’s fascination with family relationships and the adoption process turned into a lifelong mission.
Faith and her husband David Friedlander started with a shared passion to help others build strong and healthy relationships; they often dreamt of having their own support center. David told Faith “why don’t you make adoption a specialty for something in your life? It is your passion, unique and different.” Social workers are simply too overworked to give foster and adoptive children the long-term care and consideration they need. Faith and her close friend Bev began meeting with social workers on a regular basis to develop a vision for Kids & Families Together (K&FT). She would ask, “What do you need? How can we fill in the gaps? What does our community need?”
After Faith had been working as a Marriage and Family Therapist for over 20 years and attended the North American Council on Adoptable Children, David, Faith, and Bev were given a unique opportunity to make their passion a reality. Another friend, with connections to a family foundation offered them the initial funding they needed to create K&FT if they were able to gain nonprofit status. Within five months of this offer, the doors of K&FT were opened on January 1, 2000. Since the opening David and Faith have never ceased to search for new ways to fill in gaps in the welfare system.
K&FT is a unique not-for-profit organization that not only treats children who come from foster, adoptive, or kinship families but also the guardians of these children that need support and new techniques to create a cohesive family dynamic. David and Faith recognize that traditional white-walled therapy rooms can be uncomfortable and intimidating. To combat this, they purposefully established the K&FT support center in a charming Victorian house with white trim, made complete with modified bedrooms to fit therapy needs. The homey environment allows clients to feel safe and comfortable during treatment.
When asked, “When was the first time you realized you were making a difference?” Faith responded, “There was no particular moment that comes to mind, just knowing that parents would say ‘I feel like you are really listening and you get it, how hard it is. And I feel like you aren’t blaming me and you care that it is this hard and we are going to work together as a team to make this better.”