top of page

Felicia Burk

Felicia Burk, who lives in Murfreesboro, is the adoptive mom of Heith, Scarlet, and Carr Burk. Felicia became Heith and Scarlet’s foster mom in 2006 when their mother was killed in a car accident, and later adopted them in 2008. She adopted Carr two years later. Felicia is tirelessly committed to ensuring that her children have access to the health care services they need to grow and function to their fullest capacity.

Scarlet is an energetic 10-year-old who loves shoes and getting her fingernails and toenails painted. She enjoys being close to people and likes to give her mom hugs. Felicia places special value on these hugs because when Scarlet was first adopted she did not like to be touched at all. Because of the health care services Felicia has fought for, Scarlet is now able to speak. For Scarlet, it is imperative that she continue receiving these services to further develop these skills.

Heith is now a talkative, loving, and ambitious 14-year-old boy. He loves being outside swinging or jumping on the trampoline, spending time with his family during their Friday movie nights or family dinners, and going to church. He loves to help out in the family’s garden or with chores around the house. Heith helps pull the weeds and pick the vegetables from the family’s garden. Through his persistence, as well as that of Felicia and several therapists, Heith is also now able to read. His goal is to one day have a job and a girlfriend and to live in his own condo. Heith is working to improve his social skills so he can achieve these goals. Felicia credits his therapies for the growth and advances he has made over the last few years.

Carr, now 8 years old, loves cars and playing the Nintendo Wii, especially his favorite game, Mario Kart. Carr is also very affectionate. Carr has many of the same difficulties and treatment needs as Heith and Scarlet but also has additional issues that require further diagnosis and treatment. Felicia is battling to get the appropriate services that Carr needs to develop to his fullest potential.

Scarlet, Heith, and Carr have all been diagnosed with autism as well as developmental disabilities, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and a sleep disorder. Additionally, Scarlet has impulse control disorder and a feeding disorder, Carr has attachment difficulties, and Heith suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Felicia has encountered innumerable obstacles to getting her children the services they need to grow and function. She has had challenges in accessing speech therapy and behavior treatment services for each of her children, even after a judge ordered TennCare to provide it. She has also had trouble getting much needed in-home assistance services for Carr, faced drastic cuts in personal assistance services for Heith and Scarlet, and has had difficulty getting appropriate dental care for Scarlet and Carr. Felicia has also struggled with getting medications for each of the children.

Felicia believes it is important to advocate for children across Tennessee “because children with special needs have a lot more potential than parents, educators, and health care providers realize—if there is early diagnosis, treatment and the proper services.” Felicia frequently shares her family’s story to make the laws more just for Tennessee’s children. She adds, “If you have high standards and high goals set for you, you’re going to achieve great things.” With Felicia’s persistence, knowledge, and dedication, the hope is high for her children. Not having to fight for services that TennCare is supposed to provide will enable Felicia, and many others like her, to fully devote their time, love, and attention to their children.

Photo Credit: Whitney Newby

bottom of page