SOUTH JORDAN – Through her experience of adoption and foster care, a Utah foster parent and mother of six fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a member of the tribe on the CBS reality show Survivor: South Pacific.
Dawn Meehan, 41, lives in South Jordan with her six adopted children and husband. She has always wanted to be a member of the Survivor tribe and this year her dream came true.
“The experience of adoption, being a foster mom and being on the show are not so different from each other,” Meehan said. “We are kind of like a tribe. I thought I could do this because I do it in real life.”
The Meehan’s became foster parents in 2003 after they had adopted their first four children and become recertified in Utah through the Utah Foster Care Foundation. The family had the opportunity to foster a brother and sister on a temporary basis until temporary quickly became permanent.
“We thought we would just foster short term, but their situation changed so we changed,” Meehan said. “[As a foster parent] you have to be adaptable.”
The family agreed unanimously that adopting the siblings would be the best decision. Meehan said from the very beginning the two children seemed to fit into their family like a missing link.
“As a foster parent, the ups far outweigh the downs,” she said. “The foster care parent training makes [parents] better prepared for parenting, which makes you a little more proactive to bringing the disadvantages out in the open in order to get help.”
The hardest part for her is seeing what the biological families go through while their child is placed in other’s care, Meehan said.
The entire Meehan family was included in Dawn’s application video for acceptance on Survivor: South Pacific. Once she was chosen, the entire family rallied together to help her get prepared and train for the competition.
“I thought, ‘How could I take this experience and positively translate it to my kids?’” Meehan said.
She went into the competition with three goals in mind: not to embarrass her family, give it everything to win the million dollars, and take the opportunity to represent adoption and foster care.
“Being an advocate for the foster parents was a fortunate experience,” Meehan said. “Adoption and foster has defined us and changed us as a couple; truthfully, I don’t know how I would have been able to do it without the support of my husband and children.”
The new season of Survivor: South Pacific starts today on CBS.
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