My Family’s Testimony

February 27, 2020

Dear Chair Maloney, Chair Raskin, Ranking Member Jordan, and Ranking Member Roy:

Thank you for the opportunity to submit my testimony to the Committee for the hearing on The Administration’s Religious Liberty Assault on LGBT Rights. I appreciate the opportunity to share my story, and to share why Congress must act to end discrimination in foster care and adoption, by passing Congressman John Lewis’ bipartisan Every Child Deserves a Family Act, HR 3114. I am submitting my testimony via Family Equality, an organization representing LGBTQ families and LGBTQ people wishing to form families.

My husband and I were the second gay couple to adopt through the foster care program in the State of Utah, welcoming our children into our home as foster parents in May 2015 and completing the adoption process in November 2015. Our experience with the Utah Foster Care Foundation and the Utah Department of Child and Family Services exceeded our expectations. We were encouraged throughout the process and felt welcomed and respected. I am writing today to support the positive impact that adding LBGTQ families into the pool can have for the children.

Simply put, love and security are the foundation for healthy outcomes for the children. These attributes are not “owned” solely by religious or heterosexual individuals. The best interests of the children should always be forefront and I believe that our story of success offers an example of the power of family, no matter the gender makeup or religiosity.

After reviewing the kids’ files, who were 4 and 2 years old at the time, we got a sense of physical abuse and a lot of neglect up to this point. The children had been homeless with their birth-mom for a period, couch-surfing and living in transitional housing. 

Today, our kids are 8 & 6 and are as happy and stable as any of their peers. Our daughter has pivoted from an aggressive personality to one of the most caring and empathetic kids around. Our son, who was feared to have developmental issues has just been recommended for an advanced-learning magnet school. He is in kindergarten and reading at a second-grade level. He is funny, bright and loving.

In sum, if you remove couples like us from the potential pool of families, you are lowering the chances of positive outcomes for the children. Discrimination of this kind certainly hurts us by denying our rights, but more importantly, it harms the children. The positive story of our family is just one of many. The most important consideration should be improving the chances of success for all of the children.

This is a social issue of great magnitude. In 2017, nearly 20,000 young people “aged out” of foster care across the country – placing them at higher risk of involvement with the criminal justice system, homelessness, unemployment, and being trafficked.  Adoption and parenting should focus on creating safe, stable, loving forever homes for kids. All child welfare decisions should be made in the best interests of the child, not based on the religious beliefs of child services agencies or workers.

LGBTQ people are more likely to adopt older children and children with disabilities – children who have the most difficulty finding forever homes. “License to discriminate” laws allow child services agencies to refuse to place LGBTQ youth – who are overrepresented in the foster care system – with affirming and accepting parents. These laws also mean that a worker could place an LGBTQ youth with a family that intends to place them in harmful conversion therapy. 19% of foster youth identify as LGBTQ and report twice the rate of poor treatment while in care, as well as greater rates of placement in group homes, multiple placements, hospitalization for emotional reasons, involvement in the criminal justice system, and homelessness.

Children of color are overrepresented in the foster care system, constituting over half of children in care. States are required to recruit a pool of foster and adoptive parents that mirrors the population of kids in care. More than a third of same-sex couples raising children are people of color. Marginalized youth in the child welfare system, including those who are LGBTQ, Indian or Alaska Native, and youth of color, deserve culturally competent, safe, and supportive care.

I Tripped While Admiring the Horizon

I don’t like stumps, rocks or snakes – I actually hate snakes…

One of the great things for me about living in Utah is exploring the unbelievable amount of trails. The sensory-satisfaction that occurs is amazing. Personally, I like to run on the trails and challenge myself to see how far, fast and high I can go.20180923_100250

One piece of advice given to me recently was to be sure to look up from the trail frequently to take in the view. My problem is actually the opposite. I am always scanning the horizon. I love coming across a view that stops me dead in my tracks.

This also sums me when approaching our FI’s digital transformation. I am obsessed with what we can be, where we can go and how mightily we can delight our customers. Seems like it makes sense since I am paid to lead our FI’s strategy and execution. Oh yeah, execution…

I am a daydreamer. Sometimes when I settle into a great cadence on a trail, I get incredible clarity. I can see that digital omega – the place we are going with vivid detail and imagery. My brain synthesizes all of the learnings from this great tribe of influencers into a symphony of complex clarity.                       Caution Will Robinson.

First come the stumps

It is important to keep your eye on the path. A couple of weeks ago, on a descent, a buddy was gaining on me from behind. In the split second that I glanced behind to see how close, I caught a stump and performed a Pee-Wee Herman dance back to stability, almost careening off the path.20180923_091344

It happened so fast. These things do.

We recently launched a new security upgrade to enhance our screening for fraud. Before midnight, our system began duplicating ACH files, then summarily rejecting them all as duplicates. I detest security upgrades. They aren’t sexy. They don’t delight customers. BUT, they do keep us away from stumps. You actually do not make it very far on your journey if you aren’t watching for stumps. You never get to that perfect vantage point. You miss that view at the end if you forget to look.

 

Oh, did I mention the snakes?

My friend also gave me this advice – you really should be looking up and down at the same time, because if you stop looking down, you may miss another one of Utah’s gifts…

dry animal gift dangerous
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Did I mention that I don’t like snakes? Even thinking about them possibly being on my trail can really take me out of the moment. This important moment! The exact reason I am up here is to experience these moments, not to have images of snakes in my head. How dare that imaginary snake rob me of this!

Perspiration, Inspiration, Ideation

I just want to run and lose myself, swimming in my endorphins, looking at the incredible vistas and visualizing successes. I cannot do that. You can’t get to the summit without perspiration. My team needs to see me sweat. They need to know I’ll roll up my sleeves. After all, the views aren’t just for me. Pictures are nice, but nothing beats getting there together and sharing the view.

Can we talk about the need for self-awareness? This journey is a delicate balance of skills. There are times to sprint, times we must dodge obstacles, times we jump, and finally, times when we must stop dead in our tracks and take everything in. (This is when I snap some pics)

Self-awareness. Mindfulness. Call it what you will, but we have to understand a lot here.  I know that I am probably not going to jump over large rocks after two hip replacements. I am not used to this altitude, having grown up in swampy New Orleans. My lungs constantly remind me of this. I know my limitations. I wear my scars as battle emblems.

The path forward isn’t just about the surroundings either. I carry a lot of obstacles in my head. People seem to love to tell me about all of the snake-sightings on these trails, but I can’t dwell on that if I want to reach the summit. I need to overcome my fears. I need to look up and down (and inside and outside), all at the same time.

Context is Everything

The history of an organization is a wonderful thing, in that it allows us to learn from experiences, giving context as to how we arrived where we are. We have taken a winding path of switchbacks, steep ups-and-downs and even tumbles to get to this wonderful place of success. We have scars. We need to look around and know that we are a sum of all of the parts of the journey so far, but we are also the beneficiary of the current view of success.

The path forward can only begin from the place where we are.

We have arrived through a collective journey. Very few of the tribe that set out on this journey are still on the team. Nevertheless, we arrived here because of all of them, and because of all of us. Hypothetically, if you were to replace our entire staff, the new tribe is still required to start from this very spot, but without the benefit of context, learnings and our passion. This new tribe only has the raw materials we left behind. They don’t even have a path. They certainly don’t see our vistas.20180923_093247

I’ll take this path, replete with the rocks, stumps and yes, even the snakes and build from this very spot. I will do so knowing that I have to exercise all of my senses, clinging to the history of the path while looking ahead, and down and around. I will break a sweat. I will pause. I will dodge. I will stop to rest. But just you wait… you ain’t seen nothing yet!

Innovation – For the Sake of Our Customer

“At the end of the day, innovation needs to be about improving the quality of life, making things better, and solving real problems. Focus on the real change that will bring benefits to your customers and help them thrive, instead of paying lip service.” Jim Marous.

At TAB we are committed to blazing a new path based upon innovative thinking. This path will require us to let go of our old ways of thinking and embrace trying new things – over and over again until we find the answers. Thomas Edison said: “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Money tree

You don’t need a fancy title or a silicon valley-esque workspace to be innovative.

To create and sustain change, you need people with the heart and passion to make a difference and challenge the status quo. That’s what we have at TAB and why we excel. We are willing to fight the good fight to bring the best solutions for our customers. That hunger is what drives innovation and progress.

So go ahead, roll up your sleeves and remember who you are serving. Inspire, lead, and dare to dream.

My Clumsy Start

Thanks for joining me!

I am the only me. And I’m right here, right now. My blog is the place to coalesce a few of my passions.

Context is Everything

I am not sure that my writings will be much original content because one of my passions is a permanent quest for learning (Now you get the site title). I am the one-and-only Curt Queyrouze, but I am still an accumulation of all that I absorb. In that vein, context is everything. I love to learn and I love to share my take on what I learn. If you ever see me talking to myself, I am probably trying it on for size. Frequently, things make perfect sense to me until I try to turn around and explain that the very same thing. Therein lies the reason for this blog site.

Most of the writings on my blog will focus on my passions – the digital transformation of financial services, my family and diversity and inclusion. One day, my kids may read some of this and they will know me a little better – allegedly. My 23-year-old asked me, just a few years ago, “I know you are in banking or something, but what is it you actually do?’  Context = her mom and I divorced when she was one.

A Comfortable Introvert

Many people are surprised when I tell them I am an introvert. I get why that may be confusing because I can easily stand in front of a room of people and speak. I am comfortable at that moment, but not afterward when I have to mingle with the crowd. Long interactions can be very draining. I don’t like talking on the phone. But, I do like being around people – just as long as I have an escape route.

That’s It

I don’t really like talking about myself so I will exercise my prerogative to end this post here and get on with writing about other things. You have enough context now. At least you have some context.

 

Sunflower

For me context is the key – from that comes the understanding of everything. Kenneth Noland

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