Philadelphia, Pa., May 31, 2018 / 13:31 pm
Over the past 25 years, Sharonell Fulton has been a mother to more than 40 children through foster parenting in Philadelphia.
She has opened her heart and home to children who have suffered abuse and trauma, offering them an oasis of love and comfort during tumultuous times.
“I have devoted my life to opening my home as a safe harbor,” Fulton wrote in an opinion piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer May 24.
“For the last 25 years, I have sheltered and loved more than 40 children, helping them piece their lives together and move on from hurt-filled pasts,” she said. “It was my faith that led me to become a foster mother to children, particularly children that society had abused and discarded.”
When Philadelphia recently severed ties with Catholic Social Services, Fulton said that she felt fully “the pain of rejection.” Fulton, who had been using the Catholic Social Services program for her own foster parenting, said that seeing “the city condemn the foster agency that has made possible my life’s work fills me with pain.”
On March 15, Philadelphia Councilwoman Cindy Bass authorized an investigation into organizations which do not place foster children in the care of LGBTQ individuals, on the grounds of discrimination. Among the organizations, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and Human Services found Catholic Social Services at fault, saying their foster placement was discriminatory, and cut ties with the faith-based agency.
“As a single mom and woman of color, I’ve known a thing or two about discrimination over the years,” Fulton remarked.
“But I have never known vindictive religious discrimination like this, and I feel the fresh sting of bias watching my faith publicly derided by Philadelphia’s politicians,” she continued.