Adoptive Mother Mattie Parker

I often believe that adoption is more common than many people believe. Coming across a brief profile of Mattie Parker in Time magazine, who is now mayor of Fort Worth TX, intrigued me. I did not learn a whole lot about her adopted daughter, who is now 19, and from what I know about former foster care youth turned adoptees, it gives me pause to see so many photos of her sons but never one with the daughter. I did however discover a rather surprising Republican woman.

According to the LINK> Fort Worth Report Mattie and her husband, David, fostered, then adopted their daughter, Shainey. She was already 10 years old at the time (which is generally commendable). They have since focused their philanthropic efforts on children in the foster care system, promoting adoption and providing all children with a forever home. They also have two boys, Greyson, 10, and Laney, 4.

More recently in a profile in LINK> The Texas Tribune, I discovered that she is a Republican who has criticized the current state of the GOP and its intraparty battles. She believes that politics is not about party affiliation but should be grounded in public service and making our communities the best places to live and raise our families. Parker is known for making regular appeals for bipartisanship and in Texas municipal races are not partisan. That is the same in my own local county in Missouri.

Parker is one of the youngest mayors in the country at 38 years old. She has been known to buck her party and particularly as an outlier when it comes to expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act — which Texas Republicans have staunchly resisted.

Parker came to the defense of transgender children and their families amid the state’s push to label some parents of transgender youth as child abusers. Gov Greg Abbott, who endorsed Parker when she ran for mayor in 2021, recently directed the state’s child welfare agency to investigate parents who let their trans children access gender-affirming care.

Parker said policymakers should instead focus on providing mental health resources for teenagers and improving conditions for children in the state foster care system. She also cited figures showing transgender teens are more likely to attempt suicide than their cisgender peers. “I’m worried right now that you’re targeting families that are already incredibly vulnerable and in a really difficult circumstance, when there are so many other hundreds of thousands of kids and families that are in dangerous positions with no regard for the subject of transgender,” Parker said.

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