Today we’d like to introduce you to Shana Smith.
Hi Shana, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
When I was 22, I chose to leave an extremely abusive marriage with nothing more than a small backpack. I had no money and nowhere to go. I lived in my car.
Each morning, I got dressed in my business attire and went to work. I kept this a secret but was determined not to allow this living situation to define who I was or what I would become.
Living in my car was far from a perfect scenario, it was occasionally scary and often sad but I realized in those moments that I was safe and, as imperfect as the situation was, it had moments of absolute perfection because I had community and love around me.
I was living in a perfectly imperfect situation. After 6 months, I had saved enough money to rent my first apartment. It was small, but it was all mine. 20 years later that is still a defining moment I learned how strong I was. I learned that we can never know what someone is going through just by looking at them and I learned that community was imperative to success.
It was through my community that I was able to have the courage to walk away from that marriage, the confidence to live on my own, and the support daily to grow into a person that I can be proud of. As growth happened so did my desire to be a mother; I knew that foster care was something that was so important to me. In 2006, I got my foster care license as a single woman and moved forward.
Over the past 16 years, my husband and I have fostered more than 20 children, we have supported reunification and the best interests of every child that has entered our home. We adopted our daughter in 2008, in 2015 we adopted our son, and then in 2019, another sweet boy entered our family making us Smith, Party of 5!
Through our experiences as a foster and adoptive family for the past 16 years, we have learned that putting the child’s best interests above your own is imperative to the health and long-term success of our children. We are often asked how people can fix the foster care system; starting with supporting families in crisis.
There are almost 217,000 children that enter foster care each year. As children are removed and moved through the foster care system we are missing the key piece of the puzzle, supporting families in crisis to avoid removal. Once a child enters foster care, it simply adds to the number of people that need support in order to fully commit to the best interests of those children.
The same is true for adoption; putting the focus on the child and their best interests is by far more important. Caring for our children means that we need to put the focus on them and what is best in their lives. It is my mission to continue to find resources and aid families to help children further become successful in their lives.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Nothing about my life has been a smooth road but with each difficulty came great learning and growth. From surviving domestic violence, living with infertility, and our road as foster parents we know what bumpy can look like.
In those rough moments, we have learned to band together as a married couple and as a family.
We’ve been impressed with S Squared Executive Assistant Services, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
In 2020, just before the pandemic started, I chose to go out on my own and start a business.
Becoming a virtual executive assistant has afforded me a great opportunity to both do something that I love and be home when my children need me. As an Executive Assistant, I serve a critical role in a business by assisting key company executives with scheduling, organization, and administrative tasks.
I am often the executive’s “right-hand person” who enables them to advance company initiatives and goals. I filter and attend to the day-to-day functions that are part of the executive’s role so that the executive can focus on the high-level leadership and strategy functions.
I am proud of my work; being able to help female entrepreneurs and male CEOs balance their work and life, giving them the ability to be more present in both. Hearing one of my clients talk about being at their child’s sporting event or dance class when they have never felt the ability before makes me so proud of my work.
Can you talk to us a bit about happiness and what makes you happy?
I find happiness in so many things, I am generally a very happy person. I find happiness in my children, watching them grow in themselves and in their love of God has been so heartwarming.
I have watched my children struggle and I have watched them succeed, nothing makes you happier as a parent than watching their pride when they find success. I also find great happiness in my marriage.
Being married to a man that loves big, a man that loves his country, God and his family is simply amazing. As a military family, I also find amazing happiness in our military community.
- Website: shanaksmith.com
- Instagram: @this.beautiful.chaos
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FosteringLifeFosteringLove/