Carol & Anne (second and fourth from left) with Bobbi-Jean's daughters Angeline, Nikki and Shelbi at Angeline & Shelbi's high-school graduation last June. The girls refer to Carol & Anne as "Grandma".
Twenty four years ago, Carol and Anne committed their lives to each other. For the last 23 of those years, Carol and Anne have served as foster parents to 20 children, four of whom still live with them (ages 16, 13, 8 and 7).
When they began their life together, Carol and Anne had no intent to become foster parents. Rather, the role chose them, Carol says. A deeply spiritual person, Carol believes that God sent her and Anne the children for whom they were meant to provide refuge, love and encouragement.
“If I have been blessed, I need to pass those blessings along,” said Carol.
Carol recalls the first child they fostered – an unruly, seemingly unhappy little girl. She vividly remembers the first parent-teacher conference she and Anne attended, during which the girl’s teacher cried in delight of her progress and asked Carol, “What did you do?”
“We just loved her,” Carol responded.
Today, that once unruly little girl is now 37 years old.
“She’ll be 38 on August 16,” said Anne in the background.
Her name is Bobbi-Jean, and she has three children of her own – all of whom call Carol and Anne “Grandma”.
Then there was the boy who had an Individual Education Plan (IEP) because he had small motor problems that left him with unreadable handwriting. Carol and Anne let him type out his school work. They told him he was bright.
“He was,” said Carol.
The boy went on to excel in school and graduated valedictorian.
These are but two of the many success stories to come out of Carol and Anne’s loving home.
“Children can’t control their own destiny,” said Carol. “They need someone to step-up and say, ‘I will take care of you.’”
It’s important that media coverage of Mother's Day be inclusive of all the amazing mothers out there, including those who happen to identify as lesbians. Furthermore, Carol and Anne’s 24-year relationship – a loving and committed relationship that has literally fostered the lives of not one, not two, but 20 children and counting – is not a relationship that's eligible for marriage in their home state of Rhode Island. Carol and Anne were legally married in Massachusetts back in 2007; getting married in Rhode Island wasn't an option for the committed couple back in 2007, and sadly, it still isn't an option for couples like them today.
GLAAD urges the media to report on Mother's Day in a way that is fair, accurate and inclusive. For suggestions on how to do this and to see possible story ideas, please check out our Mother's Day Resource Kit. Please don't hesitate to contact GLAAD if you'd like to be in touch with Carol and Anne, or if we can be of further assistance as you plan your coverage of Mother's Day.