Over the next few months, we would like for you to get to know our dedicated team at OCA. We have an amazing staff who are passionate about foster care and adoption.
Today we are featuring our President and Executive Director, Darren Washausen.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Where you are from, where you grew up and your background.
A: I grew up in the small town of Waterloo, Illinois in the 60’s and 70’s (I guess that makes me old!). Waterloo is now considered the best small town in Illinois. I also met my wonderful wife when I was 6 years old! She lived across the lane from my grandma. I played Happy Birthday for her on my guitar!
Q: How long have you been with OCA and how did you get started with OCA?
A: In 2008, Stacia and I were introduced to OCA (was called Louisville Orphan Care Initiative back then). We were asked lead a part of the ministry regarding local needs. However, that only lasted two months when I was asked to lead the ministry. It was a small grass roots ministry operating with all volunteers.
Q: How has OCA grown over the years?
A: As we learned more about the local needs of foster and adoptive children and families, new ministries were created for volunteers to connect with, all while working with churches to advocate and educate about the needs. In the beginning, we focused on the various ways to adopt which included foster to adopt. We held seminars with various community resources and then connected those called to the appropriate resource. From here, we added Life Coaching, Safe Harbor, and additional Family Support services. As OCA has built some history, it is rewarding to learn of some of the outcomes of adopted children who are entering their young adult years.
Q: What’s your favorite book on adoption/foster care and what is your favorite book in general?
A: Wow, I really don’t read much with balancing two jobs until recently. My favorite book overall is the Bible. It is the one book I read. I do hope to achieve a better balance to do more reading. Do audio books count as reading? I have debated on going down that path recently.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: Similar to reading, most of my hobbies have gone away. I enjoy RC Aircraft and have two planes, I also play guitar, and like to bowl. I am pretty ok on a waterski too, but haven’t done that for several years.
Q: Why are you so passionate about foster care and adoption?
A: I am passionate about foster care for several reasons. In the beginning it was about helping one child as we became adoptive parents. As our journey progressed, we learned about the uncertainty and lack of hope in the lives of the kids in foster care. In recent years, we have learned about the impacts of trauma on the development of children. While trauma can be devastating, there is also hope for healing when people step into the lives children. It is this hope that drives me in calling for others to step into the lives of children. We can break the cycle now or statistically we will see more homelessness, more crime, and more incarceration in our own backyards.
Q: What is your favorite Bible verse?
A: Galatians 5:22-23 – I try to keep the fruits of the spirit in my heart as we serve all those we meet through the ministry of OCA.