Faces of Long Island celebrates the uniqueness of everyday Long Islanders. In their own words, they tell us about their life experiences, challenges and triumphs. Newsday launched this social media journey into the human experience to shine a light on the diverse people of this wonderful place we call home.

‘I am committed to making a difference.’

Faith Getz Rousso, Roslyn

“I always knew I was adopted. However, it wasn’t until a few years ago, when I received my original birth certificate, that I was made aware that I was in foster care for the first seven months of my life.

“When I asked my mom where I was for the first seven months of my life, she responded, ‘With a nice lady.’ The words ‘foster care’ were never used. When I saw ‘foster care’ on the legal document … it touched me. I know how blessed I was for being raised in a loving caring home. What touched me was that there are so many children in foster care who don’t have the opportunities that I had – that my children, now 25 and 29, had growing up – and I wanted to do something to give back.

“First, it started with the events that I bought tickets for and distributed to the families to attend basketball games, then, the T-shirts to wear at the game and food vouchers. All so they would feel special. That wasn’t enough. The foster care system needs work. And it became apparent to me that the ones who are suffering are the children.

The goal of foster care is reunification with their biological family.

“I am committed to making a difference. I’m a lawyer, and I do hours and hours of pro bono work representing foster parents in Family Court. It is rare for a foster parent to have representation in court prior to the adoption. I hold their hand – literally – and become their ears and their translator, explaining the process and sharing what is going on in court with the children that they are caring for.

“The goal of foster care is reunification with their biological family. However, that is balanced with permanency with the children. Sadly, the delays in the courts, unfortunately, result in children spending most of their childhood in foster care.

“My volunteer work includes my involvement in We Care, a charitable arm of the bar association. I have co-chaired the holiday party, organized 100-plus children to go to an Islanders game and co-planned a fall festival which included pumpkins, riding a mounted-police horse, fire trucks and a DJ. At a holiday party sponsored by the Department of Social Services, I reached out to my generous friends/colleagues, and I collected enough to provide 100 gift cards for teens in care. I really do love my work!”

Interviewed by Saul Schachter