WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A local non-profit hopes to foster your care in foster care one performance at a time.
May is Foster Care Awareness Month, so the timing is everything for Heather and Michael Babineaux, the founders of Friends of Finn, which recently got its start in August 2019.
The website AdoptUSkids.org states, “In January 2019 there were 29,927 children in foster care in Texas and 3,378 children waiting for adoptive families,” and the Babineauxes want to make a dent in those numbers.
“Truthfully, all these kids want is a safe place to land at the end of the day,” Heather said. ‘It’s insane how many foster kids are in the system.”
More statistics about foster children can be found on the Texas Department of Family and Protective Service’s website. The Babineauxes work with Depelchin, a foster care organization in Austin. They recommend reaching out to them as well.
Friends of Finn is named after their son — one of two boys they adopted. John is their other child, who they received through private adoption, “which comes with a lot more cost involved,” Michael said. They are still paying on his adoption loans. That reality lead to a realization.
“There’s other families out there that could use financial help through these adoption funds,” Michael said. “That’s the main reason we started the organization to help bring awareness to foster and adoption. To help those families, but eventually in the long term help fund adoptions for those who are wanting to adopt, but just can’t find the financial needs to do so.”
“They’re expensive,” Heather responded.
“Very expensive,” Michael repeated.
This year they’re targeting the foster care system and how they can focus their funds on areas that matter most.
“To be frank, those kids just get the short end of the stick every day,” Heather said. She wants to make sure they’re “giving in the right areas as far as what the kids need daily. Whether that just be someone to talk to, a school bag, clothes, a place to lay their head at night. I mean, anything like that.”
And then COVID-19 happened.
COVID-19 and virtual concert series
“I have this beautiful calendar book that I’ve literally had to go cancel, cancel, cancel, cancel on everything,” Heather said. “Our foster families are just way more reluctant to take on any new cases right now.”
They resorted to creativity to raise money during the crisis.
“We just wanted to get everybody together and listen to some music, since you know we can’t really go see a live concert,” Michael said.
They decided to host a virtual concert series throughout May every Friday from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. The series is meant to raise awareness about the foster experience, especially during the COVID-19 quarantine.
The family-friendly concerts include:
- Garret Johnson – Acoustic Covers (May 1)
- Michael Slaughter – Songs About Hope (May 8)
- Luke LaGrange – Original Easy Listening (May 15)
- DJ Bambú – DJ Dance Party (May 22)
- Taylor Ott – Piano Pop Covers (May 29)
If you’re interested in supporting musicians as well as the local foster care non-profit, you can tune in for Facebook Live performances on the Friends of Finn Facebook page. The nonprofit welcomes donations. If you would like to donate, you can send money to their Venmo account: @FriendsOfFinn, which is run by Babineaux.
“All proceeds go straight back to Friends of Finn,” Heather said. “We want to try to send a couple of foster care kids to summer camp this year, because I think as a foster care child, in not knowing your fate every day, [we want them] to be able to look forward to something as fun as summer camp and just know you’re going to go to a place to have fun, you have no worries, it’s taken care of. Just to be able to have that little peace of mind I think will go a long way.”
They’re also putting together care packages.
“Providing the kids with the essentials is crucial,” Michael said. “There are more kids than parents out there and it’s all state-funded, so of course anything we can give back to these kids is what we’re trying to do.”