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Meet Vanessa Vasquez of Olive Crest Foster Care and Adoption Agency

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanessa Vasquez.

Vanessa, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
When I was in school I took a class that was taught by a Professor who left such an impression on me, I followed his course of expertise which was victimized children.

While in school I was offered a position at a small, shelter for abused children. At the time, although raised Catholic, I wasn’t committed to my faith. After working in such a difficult field, I found my way back to the church where I was better able to see how God brings Good purpose to even the most traumatic situations.

Eight years later, I accepted a position at Olive Crest. With its Judeo-Christian foundation, both my faith and commitment to serving children and families have grown significantly over the last 21 years.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
This work is never smooth, however, it is good and sacrificial work. I am humbled to serve alongside local churches and meet with amazing families who feel called to love children from difficult places. Olive Crest families willingly open their lives to children who are suffering greatly. That suffering doesn’t stop when the children cross the threshold of the foster home. Our families know this is part of their calling but it is still difficult to witness those struggles. Supporting them and caring for every family member is a privilege.

On a bigger scale, every foster care agency is navigating the reform of California’s foster care system which was launched on January 1, 2017. This reform changed the way counties and the private, non-profit foster care agencies “approve” families who want to be foster families and serve the children in the foster care system.

Over the past 18 months, the reform has continued to evolve. The good news is, the “changes” have been evolving more and more into “improvements”. Specifically, in San Diego, Olive Crest has welcomed and enjoyed working more closely with San Diego County and the other private, non-profit agencies.

Olive Crest Foster Care and Adoption Agency – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
As the Olive Crest mission states, we are dedicated to the prevention of child abuse, the treatment and education of at-risk children, and preserving the family… One Life at a Time®. After nearly 45 years of caring for abused and neglected children, there is one thing that is crystal clear – the key to transforming the lives of a child broken from abuse is the healing power of a strong family.

When hurt and abandoned children are surrounded and supported by a loving family and nurturing relationships, it’s amazing to see the dark cloud of fear, loneliness, distrust, and despair begin to lift, and promise, hope and light begin to take hold. They begin to thrive and become the people God intended them to be; full of purpose, unique gifts, talents, and personalities.

Olive Crest has offices in California, Nevada, and the Pacific Northwest. The national office is located in Orange County. Depending on the location, we offer services that include: chaplaincy support, education, counseling, foster care, adoption, and programs for emancipating foster youth. In our San Diego office, we approve foster families called to care for children who are in the birth family restoration process and families who are open to adopting the children in their care.

From San Diego, I oversee our family approval process in California and act as a consultant for our out-of-state offices. I also act as the San Diego liaison between our office and our local church partners.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
This is so hard to measure. I think my success is when those around me see the greater purpose of what they are doing. When a family can look at a traumatic experience and see how God has used it for good, I am happy. I trust God has a plan and, despite what we might hope, things don’t always go the way we expect. I find peace in knowing nothing surprises God.

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