When it comes to giving back to the community, one Maricopa Realtor doesn’t draw a line between his personal and professional lives.
From taking on the role of a foster parent to going above and beyond to help his clients, Brian French of the Maricopa Real Estate Company tries to take a more benevolent approach to life.
“I’ve helped people move, paid for repairs, watched their kids,” French said. “I just want to help.”
It’s about building those friendships and paying it forward to the community, he said.
French, originally from Omaha, Nebraska, has been in Arizona since 2009 and Maricopa since 2010. Around that time, he was certified as a foster parent. After caring for more than a dozen children, French decided to take it one step further.
In 2011, he began to care for a 6-day-old boy who, in his short life, had already been through an incredibly traumatic circumstance. For French, that was when things started to change.
In Arizona, the Department of Child Safety will make every effort to keep a child with their family, giving parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles the chance to step up, French said.
For this young boy, that was not a possibility.
“He didn’t have anybody. [His mother] didn’t even know who the father was,” French said.
He took that as a bit of motivation and decided to adopt the boy he named Kyler. A year later, the adoption was complete, and Kyler was officially his.
French, at the time of the adoption, was married. But that soon ended. After a grueling battle, French retained full custody.
Being an athlete most of his life, French is a motivated individual with a positive mindset. He said he never let the experience hold him back from giving his son the best possible life. He has since stopped fostering, but not for a lack of trying.
“They [DCS] don’t tend to trust single men, I guess,” French said.
That means he gets to focus on Kyler and devote time to another relationship from which they are expecting a child soon. As his family grows, French’s future as a foster parent seems uncertain. But that’s OK, he said.
For now, he has the flexibility to be there for Kyler.
“I take him with me sometimes when I’m doing business or handing out flyers,” French said.
French said there are countless resources for people who want to foster children but feel like money is a factor, and he is willing to help anyone navigate the complexities of the system.
His advice for those interested in taking on a role as a foster parent but are reluctant to do so because of finances or a fear of the complex system is simple: “Don’t be.”
Maricopa residents Deborah and Carlos Weekly said French was helpful as a Realtor and a parent.
Several years ago, when in the process of facilitating the adoption of their grandchildren, Deborah said French helped the family secure a rental property when other realtors wouldn’t lift a finger, she said.
“He was really open to it,” Deborah said. “And, I found out after meeting with him, that that was because he was also a foster parent.”
Deborah and her husband developed such a bond with French they eventually used him when, approaching retirement, they decided to sell their home and downsize.
Not only is he a wealth of information and support when it came to the foster care system, she added, but his smile and positive attitude are something to behold.
“He’s got a really light and wonderful personality,” Deborah said. “When you see him he’s just a smile.”
Now, she said, they consider him and his son to be part of the family.
This story appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.