Fostering A New Family Dynamic
Local family fosters children from Brevard and beyond
In 2014, a newspaper article forever changed the lives of Melbourne couple Marielena and David Tynan. The publication had written about an emergency foster care program that housed children who had crossed into the country illegally while officials searched for their parents or other family living in America.
Marielena Tynan was moved by the piece, and particularly the portion that asked for foster families with at least one parent who spoke Spanish. A bilingual criminal defense and marital law attorney, Marielena felt like the article was written to target her. At the time, 53,000 of these specific children were in need of a temporary home.
So Marielena asked David, who works full time in the grocery industry, what he thought. The Tynans, parents to three children of their own, had never fostered before but felt compelled to take action. Within a week, they had completed the necessary paperwork to begin the foster family accreditation process through the Children’s Home Society of Florida. By the end of 2014, the Tynans welcome their first two of a total 10 foster children through that specific program.
“We would take more of those (immigrant) children if we could,” Marielena said, noting that the program ended in 2015 when the number of children reached “non-emergency” numbers. When that happened, Marielena and David had the option to let their foster license expire or to transfer it to a traditional one that would allow them to foster American-born children living in Brevard County. They chose the latter and their home has been the temporary one to 10 more children since. Some have stayed for just a few days while others have been honorary members of the Tynan family for a few months.
In the five years since Marielena first saw the article that changed her family dynamic, she says her eyes have been opened — to the world around her, and to her own capabilities and those of her family.
“I never realized that I would be so passionate fighting for a child who is not mine,” Marielena, now 45, said. “I feel invested beyond giving these kids a home. I want to help them learn things, to succeed in life.”
David, 51, said adjusting to an even larger family unit has been easier than he expected.
“I am actually so much more patient than I used to be,” he said.
The couple has found that being busy is just part of the foster family life, too. Both parents have demanding careers, and their three biological children who are 13, 10 and 9 have their own busy school and activity schedules. In March, the family opened Swing Away Batting Cages, an indoor facility on John Rodes Boulevard in Melbourne that they operate themselves.
“There is never a perfect time to do anything in life. We bring these kids into our crazy busy life for however long they need us,” Marielena said.
To learn more about foster parenting, contact Brevard Family Partnership at www.brevardfp.org.
Read more articles in our DIGITAL MAGAZINE.