LAKELAND, Fla. – The Florida Baptist Children’s Homes held a press conference in Tallahassee at the beginning of Children’s Week (April 4th) to announce that they would be providing each of the more than 18,000 children in the Florida foster care system with a new book titled Victor’s Dream.
The hardbound book, which is colorfully illustrated on every page, tells the fictitious story about a boy named Victor who lives at a children’s home with his younger brother and sister. He faces a number of challenges, but finds hope in God’s goodness and faithfulness. Victor never gives up hope and is eventually adopted along with his brother and sister.The press conference, held on the 22nd floor of the Florida Capitol Building, also served as a platform to encourage more people to consider adopting older children as well as to send a message of hope to all children in foster care. David Wilkins, secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families led the press conference by congratulating the partnership among the Children’s Homes, Deborah Polston (the author), and the Trawick Foundation which provided the funding for the project. Wilkins, who is also a former trustee of the Children’s Homes, took the opportunity to send a message of encouragement to foster children. “We want all foster children to know that we love you and care about you. You are very special and can achieve great things in your life,” Wilkins said.
Emma Lee Trawick, who represented the Trawick Foundation at the press conference, said that helping children is one of the primary objectives of their foundation, which is why they agreed to fund this project. Trawick also noted that the book was dedicated to the memory of her mother, Bera Owens, who was devoted to serving the needs of children throughout her life. Owens was a lifetime member of Shiloh Baptist Church in Chipley. The Trawick family has been involved with the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes since the 1970s.
Deborah Polston, who lives in Tallahassee and is a strong advocate for adoption, is the author of Victor’s Dream. “The Victor’s Dream project started more than two years ago as a dream and today it is a dream that has been realized,” Polston said. Polston and her husband adopted six boys after raising their four biological daughters. Polston explained that, in addition to the free books that will be distributed to all children in the Florida foster care system, when someone purchases a copy of the book, a free copy will be made available to a new child in foster care. “Our dream is to get this book in the hands of as many foster children as possible, not just in Florida, but throughout the nation as well,” Polston said.
Brianna Thomas, 16, who is currently in the care of the Children’s Homes in Tallahassee, gave her testimony at the press conference about her journey in the foster care system and the hope she has in Jesus. Her biological mother died when she was two and her father was never involved. She was adopted by a relative, but was removed from that home at the age of 12 due to physical abuse. She was placed in a number of different foster homes, but she eventually came to live at the Children’s Homes two years ago.
With the members of the press holding their notebooks and video cameras rolling, Thomas boldly stated that accepting Christ was the best decision she ever made. She also explained that for years she longed to be adopted by a Christian family who will love and accept her for who she is.With a big grin on her face and a twinkle in her eye, she looked around and said, “And now I can say that God has provided me with a forever family with Matt and Katie Swett and my new little sister Sierra,” Thomas said. Thomas will be moving to Panama City to live with the Swett family in June after she finishes school in Tallahassee. Copies of Victor’s Dream can be purchased at any of the Children’s Homes’ campus locations or online on their website atwww.FBCHomes.org.