Tragedy struck Patricia Heaton’s devout Catholic home in Cleveland when she was only 12.
(ABOVE: Patricia Heaton signs autographs for those attending a National Foster Care Day lunch at Park Cities Baptist Church. Photos by Marissa Alvarado)
Years before the actress would become known for playing TV moms on Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle, she lost her mother and was soon diagnosed with depression.
Her father, having little knowledge about depression or mental health, bought her a pair of corduroy, bell bottom, hip-hugger pants on the drive back home from the clinic.
“It didn’t make things better, except for the fact that I knew he saw me, I was heard, and that he was trying to do something,” Heaton said. “That was kind of all that mattered, is that you knew somebody was there for you.”
Heaton, teary-eyed, shared this story with a room full of women who foster children. Many of these fostered children have also suffered loss in their life.
“We think we have to solve all of the problems, but I think all that you need to do is show that you care.” -Patricia Heaton
“We think we have to solve all of the problems,” Heaton said, “but I think all that you need to do is show that you care.
The actress was at the luncheon to celebrate National Foster Care Day on May 7 at Park Cities Baptist Church.
Best known for her role as Debra Barone on the series Everybody Loves Raymond, Heaton won two Emmy Awards for the role and was nominated seven times. Heaton portrayed a TV mother while also raising four sons of her own.
“I’ve been so blessed that the characters that I played in that time of my life is exactly what was going on in my life. I did zero research,” she said as luncheon attendees laughed.
The National Foster Care Month event was hosted by Buckner North Texas, a faith-based nonprofit ministry. Buckner assists in foster care and adoption, among other programs for vulnerable children, families, and senior adults.
“We really always focus as much as we can on our families and the sacrifice and commitment that they make each and every day in caring for our children,” said Samela Macon, Buckner’s senior director for foster care and adoption. “This was just a wonderful opportunity to celebrate them, and to recognize them by making them feel special and having the guest speaker.”
Heaton explained how her relationship with faith has changed over the years, through her acting career and service work with World Vision.
“Patricia just did a wonderful job of sharing her own personal experiences as a mother, her faith journey and how that ties into her personal identity,” Macon said. “I think that everything she said is something that all of us could relate to.”