Though they’ve been Devereux foster parents for just a little more than a year, Mark and Damaris Pearah have already made a tremendous impact on the lives of two very special little boys. At eight months and four years old, the Pearahs’ foster sons come to the family with different needs and challenges. But the Melbourne couple has stepped up to fulfill the one need they share – a loving, stable home.
“The foster and adoptive home experience has been a very positive one for our family and community. We believe that we have helped to develop character and life skills with our foster children and it has also caused our biological children to grow in the process,” Damaris shared. “Our family has benefited from all the available foster and adoptive training and programs available.”
“Witnessing the healing of these two children – whose physical and emotional health would’ve continued to deteriorate if left in their previous environments – is so gratifying,” Mark says. “Seeing their smiling faces and the way they are maturing in character every day … we can’t ask for more than that.”
The Pearah’s also recently adopted one of their foster children who they received when he was 6-weeks old. He is a very well adjusted and assertive little man, who quickly gained the nick name – Mr. Man. After 18 months, they were blessed to adopt him and he continues to flourish into an active toddler – very active! The adoption was a very easy and quick process, for which the Pearah’s are grateful. They are thankful for everyone was involved throughout the adoption process. “Little Mr. Man will now help our family to foster others,” the Pearah’s said, “and of course -keep us all in line.”
With four biological children of their own, Mark and Damaris have been deeply involved in a Brevard homeless ministry since 2000. As Florida’s growing homeless population made headlines across the nation, the family saw its harmful effects on the streets of their community. They learned of a mother who was forced into prostitution, living in a garage and fearing for her children’s safety. And a father struggling to keep his children sheltered and fed in a local campground. These stories moved the Pearahs to become even more engaged in efforts to help Melbourne’s children.
“We’ve always been active in family-related ministries and programs, but we realized there was more we could do,” Damaris says. “To really give back and help local children through some very difficult times, we decided we should become foster parents.”
Though they’ve enjoyed their foster children and are delighted by their progress, Mark and Damaris have experienced their share of frustrations. But the couple has also found unexpected joy in the friendships they’ve made with social workers and fellow foster parents. These kindred spirits share the Pearahs’ enthusiasm and inspiration for helping Brevard County’s families.
“These relationships and our new support network are truly a blessing. And we’re proud to be a part of our community’s safety net for kids,” Mark says. “We’ve traveled to third world countries on mission trips and have seen the hardships children face there. It’s so important to have a system that ensures the security and wellbeing of the most vulnerable among us.”
In their time as foster and adoptive parents, the Pearahs have learned that the spirit of generosity and willingness to help children is contagious. The couple encourages others to share in the service of Florida’s kids by becoming a foster parent for Devereux.
“Becoming a foster parent is a huge decision, so it’s important to pray about it and discuss the details with your family, the local agencies and other foster parents,” Damaris says. “Foster parenting can sometimes seem like one on the most difficult things to do, but it’s also one of the most rewarding.”
For more information on how to become a foster parent or adoption, please call 1.855.LUV.KIDS (855.558.5437) or email FLLoveAChild@devereux.org.