Ron and Marlene
At first, their friends and family members thought they were crazy to become foster parents: after all, they were raising four biological children, and the youngest was only three. "We kept hearing stories of so many children in need of a good home, and we thought, ‘How hard could that be?’" said Marlene. “Now, we know that it's not the easiest job, but it’s definitely the most rewarding." Ron and Marlene have been foster parents to more than 100 children. They even adopted three of those children when reunification with their birth-parents was not possible.
Jeff and Karen
Jeff and Karen were also in the middle of raising their own children when they became foster parents. "We’ve had many blessings in our lives, and we have a responsibility to give some of that back. We’re also firm believers that it takes a village to raise a child," said Karen. The couple has been foster parents to five teenage boys. "These kids come from a lot of chaos and no structure, and have suffered because of it,” said Karen. “They aren’t used to someone taking an active interest in their lives.” With patience and love, there is much to be gained by the child and the foster family. Jeff and Karen still receive regular calls from the first foster teen they had in their home.
Donald and Donna
Now in her 80s, Donna was adopted at an early age. From 1956 to 1966, she and her husband, Donald, loved and cared for more than 80 newborns that didn’t have secure homes to go to. “Nothing compares with that first smile,” said Donna, smiling herself. She keeps the names of each foster baby written in her Bible and cherishes the memories of nurturing them all, along with her four biological children with Donald. “I would do it all over again,” she said.
Who are foster parents, and what makes them open their homes to children who need a safe place to stay? One thing they have in common is the kind of bottomless, nurturing love that all children need. It can change someone’s life.
We know that it's not the easiest job, but it’s definitely the most rewarding.