Zoie's Place has joined forces with Direction 61:3!

Seperated As Children, Reunited As Adults

Growing up in foster care without my siblings was sad, lonely and depressing. We wrote letters and called one another, but it just wasn’t enough. Occasionally, we were able to visit each other, but I still felt disconnected from my siblings. It was one thing to be away from family, but we all came into foster care together so it was even harder being taken away from the only people you felt understood not only your past, but how it felt to be removed from family and placed in foster care.

Growing up in different homes was difficult. One of the biggest struggles for me was trying to prove myself to my sister. I was constantly in trouble in foster care and it really hurt me because Child Protective Services (CPS) would tell my sister’s foster parents whenever I got in trouble. I felt like CPS always painted me in such a horrible light to my sister and made her think I could never mount to her expectations. A good portion of the time we talked consisted of me feeling like I had to constantly explain myself to her. When I was doing good, I felt like I had to overcompensate by bragging to her so she wouldn’t think that I was all the things everyone else had told her about me.

I can’t even remember the last time my sister and I lived in the same city. I don’t remember us visiting each other during my time in middle school or high school so it must have been 6 to 8 years ago. My sister says the last time we lived in the same city was in 2012 but she is not sure either. It’s sad that we can’t remember, we’ve been separated since we were 4 and 5 years old. Child Protective Services really should try harder to keep siblings close to each other.

I am so glad my sister and I can live together now after so much time apart. I LOVE living with her and am so happy to be around her, but it has also been an adjustment. I think I’ve gotten so used to being painted in a negative light to her, that I’m constantly trying to show her that I am not who I used to be. I am the older sister and I felt I was always supposed to set an example, and I didn’t. I feel like I have to be super protective because of the things I’ve experienced in life. I catch myself a lot of the times because I know I’m not allowing her the space to learn on her own. I really feel like a lot of how I’m operating is on a scale of making up for lost time because we’ve been apart for so long. It’s a breath of fresh air to have her here and I’ve never felt happier or more whole.

Help Us Welcome Our Newest Board Member, Cody McCommas

Cody McCommas

We would like to introduce you to Cody McCommas, one of the two new additions to our Board of Directors. Cody is the Executive Pastor at Christ Community Church of Denton. He met his beautiful wife, Karen, in college at the University of North Texas. When describing their relationship, Cody says, “She lets me do most of the talking, but she’s smarter than me.” Cody and his wife Karen are adoptive parents, foster parents, trauma-informed parents and LOVE to share what they know about foster care and adoption. They have two daughters, a 5-year-old and 18-month-old. Cody loves to cook and owns a crawfish catering company that serves people all over the metroplex. We feel honored he chose to serve his time on our Board and are so grateful to have him. Take a moment to read on to learn a little more about why he decided to join the board and what he wants you to know about foster care and adoption.

Interviewer: When did you first get involved with foster care and adoption? What is one thing that has surprised you the most after your involvement?

Cody McCommas: My wife, Karen, has had a yearning for adoption since she was in high school. We officially entered that world around 2011 when started looking for resources to help us navigate the adoption process. We didn’t realize how much we didn’t know at the time, and we’ve been learning ever since. It was obvious, though, that there was common language, in tv and movies, among friends, and in the culture at large, that was adoption/foster unfriendly. It was damaging. A big part of our role in the adoption and foster world is to help teach others the impact of particular language and to normalize orphan care by intentionally talking about it.

Interviewer: What would you like others to know about foster care and adoption? 

Cody McCommas: I’d like people to know SO MANY things about foster care and adoption!! Maybe primarily, I think if more people understood the impact of trauma on the human mind and body, they would be much more patient and caring with kids from hard places. They would better understand their struggles and be able to come alongside them to heal and move forward together. And if more people understood how our brains can rewire themselves to heal after trauma, especially through close personal relationships, they would see that there is so much hope, even in the most difficult of struggles.

Most importantly, I want people to know that you don’t have to be a superhero to be a part of the foster and adoption world. I’m not special, I’m not extraordinary. I’m a guy whose heart has been renewed by Jesus, who learns a little more each day, and who has been called, like all of us, to help set the lonely in families. If people knew their obedience is so much more glorious than their fear, they’d be freed to take their next step in serving kids and young adults.” 

Interviewer: What made you want to join the board of directors for Zoie’s Place?

Cody McCommas: “I love what Zoie’s is doing and the void they are helping to fill. I know how instrumental a loving family has been for me, especially when I transitioned into adulthood. Everybody needs that kind of love, trust, and support. The young adult population is so often forgotten or unseen in the foster care and adoption world. Zoie’s Place’s sights are set squarely on this particular population and am thrilled for that.

Interviewer: What are you looking forward to most in this new role?

Cody McCommas: “I’m most looking forward to seeing lives transformed, seeing young adults grow and prepare for a rich future. I look forward to dreaming about what Zoie’s Place can become in the future and helping us figure out how to get there.”