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Meet BNFEC: Karen Cowan

Meet our clinical director and owner, Karen Cowan. She was raised in Detroit but moved to Asheville when she was 16 years old.  Although she moved around quite a bit, she never really found a place that felt like home like Asheville did. She opened the foster care agency in 2004, and named it after her beautiful daughter Brandi, in 2010. She is a mother to her 7 year old grandson Joseph and an awesome boss. Let’s meet her!


What jobs and experiences led you to open this agency?

I was feeling inadequate as a foster parent because I was a single mom and working a full time job. Fostering was something I truly enjoyed doing but my time was limited. Opening the agency allowed my passion of fostering to become my job so I could have the time to do what I loved doing and help others do the same.

What was your favorite part about raising your children? 


My favorite part is when they are little and seeing the changes and developments in their personality emerge. 

What did you find challenging about fostering? Enjoyable? 

My challenge was time and I liked it when the child finally understood that you are their side and want to help them.  

Karen's daughter Brandi and grandson Joseph
Karen’s daughter Brandi and grandson Joseph


Do you have a favorite memory from your first couple of years fostering?

I was fostering a little girl who was


DD (developmentally disabled) and she loved food, like really loved food. One day


I was sitting at the dining room table and she handed me a sucker. She told me she wanted me to have it. That was a huge moment, for her to give up her food was like someone giving up a million dollars. This was in 1996, but I still have that red heart sucker; I never ate it.

Any lessons or parenting tips you could pass on to other parents? 

Always remember your children are a gift and a blessing and to treat them as such. 

Tell us something about yourself that no one would know by just looking at you? 


I am a closet actress! I will learn the lines off of shows and act them out around my house. My kids are the same way.

When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?  

I wanted to be a neurologist because I liked the thoughts of nerves, how they operated and how one thing can control another thing.

What is your favorite holiday? 

4th of July because I am always som


eplace different. Every other year we have our family reunion in a different place and then the off years, we travel somewhere. In the recent years, we have done Massachusetts, Charleston, Gatlinburg, and Alabama. The best fireworks display I have seen is in New York City, but it is nice just seeing how each city celebrates in their own way.

What do you like to do for fun or in your free time? 

I love movies, reading, the outdoors, traveling and meeting new people.

What is the worst job you ever had? 

I was a CNA. I liked the CNA work, but I did not like working at this one senior home. The elderly there were abandoned and mistreated daily. It was so sad, the staff did not take good care of them and no one was there to hold them accountable. I reported them to the state and they let me go.

What is your number one pet peeve? 

When people are intentionally mean to others

Aside from food and water…what is one thing you could not live without? 

Christ. Without Him, I would not have those things.

What super power would you want to have? 

Time travel. I just would like to go backwards. I know now and understand to treat everyday like it is your last. I also would like to be able to see and touch my daughter one more time.


What would you name the autobiography of your life?  

The Triumphant life of Karen

Finish this sentence: Family is … Family is Everything.

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