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community


NOT AS YOU IMAGINED


ACTOR/COMEDIAN ALEC MAPA AND HIS FAMILY WILL CHANGE YOUR IMAGE OF FOSTER PARENTS FOREVER. by danielle lescure


lec Mapa has delighted people for years with his singular comedy and acting skills. But when he’s not performing, Alec finds joy in the laughter and love of the family he’s created with his husband, producer Jamie Hebert and Zion, the son


they adopted through foster care. Alec, Jamie and Zion are proud participants in the“Reimagine Foster


Parents™” campaign designed byRaiseAChild, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to building loving families for foster children. DebutingMonday, May 1during National Foster Care Awareness Month,


the campaign seeks to update the public perception of foster parents. The Hebert-Mapa trio will be one of twelve families featured on banners displayed throughout Los Angeles illustrating the beautiful diversity of today’s foster family. “This is what America is becoming,” said Jamie Hebert. “Family is not defined by whose DNA you have or what color your skin is and which box you belong to. A family is how you build it.” Together for 15 years and married since 2006, Alec and Jamie knew early


on becoming fathers was in their future. When they were ready, going through foster care was their first choice. “We both wanted kids all our lives,” said Jamie. “We immediately knew where to go because a friend of ours had gone through the same agency to adopt. We felt a pull to give a loving family to someone who is already here that doesn’t have that.” Alec added, “And, there were so many kids in the foster care system who needed permanent placement.” Zion was initially to be placed with the couple in 2009, but


ended up in the care of a relative. “We were on the verge of actually meeting him when a family member stepped forward,” said Jamie. “We had seen a photo and he was adorable. You could see in his eyes the vibrant life he longed for.” Alec agreed, “You could see that he had a really powerful life spirit. He is to this day very charismatic and the life of the party. We saw that in him at that time and were really drawn to him.” When their social worker eventually offered them another placement, the men confessed they weren’t as drawn to that child as they’d been to Zion. “She said, ‘Let me check on Zion’s situation. I’ll call you back in ten minutes,’” said Alec. “She called back and said, ‘The placement with Zion’s relative has been a disaster. If you want him, you’ve got to come pick him up tonight at 6 p.m.’ He was an emergency placement. So many coincidences lined up. If we hadn’t called the social worker on that day and said “No” to the case


16 RAGE monthly | MAY 2017


Family is not defined by


whose DNA you have or what color your skin


is and which box you belong to.


A family is how you build it.”


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