Treka Engleman officially became a mom to Elijah, Alexis and Mercedes on November 1, 2019, after fostering them for a few years.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on June 9, 2021. It has since been updated.
Treka Engleman is a mother of three children. While motherhood is never an easy task, Treka has her own set of challenges she has to overcome. As a 32-year-old single Black woman, Treka has taken on the responsibility of three white children. Her biracial family has come under fire by internet trolls but Treka is a strong believer that love sees no race. From being mistaken as the children's babysitter to being told she was "continuing a slave mentality," she has heard it all. She lost her mother when she was just 6 years old. She now wants other children to at least experience the love of a mother that she could not.
Treka fostered her first child in 2016. Elijah Lee Hill was a 6-day-old baby whose mother was a drug addict. The following year, she fostered Alexis Bowman and her sister Mercedes Bowman, who were then aged 13 and 16 respectively. The girls were in the foster care system for years. They developed a bond and Treka decided to adopt them. She became their mom officially on November 1, 2019, reported TODAY. The ride has not been an easy one but the Englemans have each other. “People were writing things like, ‘All these Black kids in foster care and she goes and adopts White kids,’” the Cincinnati resident said. “They accused me of self-hatred and all this terrible stuff.”
Treka hails from a big family and she is the youngest of 11 children. Over the years, no one taught her how to be a mother but she was often tasked with babysitting her nieces and nephews. Treka believes this is something that helped her make the leap to become a foster parent. After some research, she found out that anyone above the age of 21 can become a foster parent and it does not matter if they are married or not. With the blessing of her family, she decided to go through the long process of being qualified for fostering children. "Hearing the stories about some children that go through foster care just brought tears to my eyes and broke my heart," she wrote for Cafe Mom. "I mean, I lost my mom when I was young, but I couldn’t imagine being without my family. At that point, I wanted to take every kid in that I could."
When Treka first got Elijah he was addicted to drugs as well and was just a few days old. "He's been attached to my hip ever since," she said of the boy. Then, she was supposed to foster the Bowman siblings. But on the day they were supposed to arrive, only Alexis arrived. Mercedes had gotten into trouble and was sent to a group home instead. This separation took a toll on Alexis and Treka decided she would reunite the sisters at any cost. "I immediately talked to the caseworker and talked about Mercedes potentially coming to live with us. The caseworker was all for making that happen," she stated.
"They needed a home and I had more than enough to give them," Treka said. "They immediately became a part of my family. My family does not see color, just kids that needed someone." When the family went out together, they got their fair share of stares. But they remained unbothered. "I’ve had people ask me, 'Oh, are you babysitting?' and my response is no, they are my children. No questions asked. I never say 'foster children', but my children. Because that’s what they are and always will be," Treka explained. She continues to take in more kids. To help her continue fostering children and help her own to pursue their education, especially Mercedes who has graduated from high school and wants to go to college, a GoFundMe has been set up on behalf of the family. You can support the family here.