Fostering Children, Feeding Souls

When I was growing up, we always had a full house. Sometimes the guests were distant relatives, sometimes they were ambassadors from another country, but most always there was a foster brother or sister living with us.

As a little girl, I'm not sure I ever understood why. Why did they need to come stay with us? Where were their families? What was their story? But what I do know is that my parents took them in as if they were one of ours and made them one of us for as long as they needed to stay. Sometimes their stints were short. Other times, they stayed and stayed. Still other times they stayed for a spell, left, and came back. 
Sometimes they'd call, to say hello. 
Or thank you. 
A few times the calls came from jail.
And sure enough, Dad would bail them out and bring them home

It wasn't usually a big deal either, having foster siblings. We just set an extra place or two at the table and made room for them. It was actually kind of a bonus because, as part of the deal, they helped us around the farm. 
At least, that's how I remember it. 

Source: Photo taken by my friend Becky in LaCrosse, WI

The one time I do recall there being a problem was that dreadful spring day when one of the foster brothers went into the Robin's nest that we were all keeping an eye on at school and purposefully broke her eggs. Every one of them, seemingly out of the blue. Our hearts broke to pieces like those beautiful shells, and many of the children were mad at me and my biological siblings as if we had broken them with our hands. He was, after all, one of us. 

I don't even know his story, but I do remember his name. David. Thing is, I'll probably never know why David acted out so angrily that day. Or the day after that. Or the day after that. What I do know is that it has to really be a difficult thing to endure, being placed into the care of a foster family, most often strangers, really, because something is broken about your family of origin. Our broken-eggs problem probably paled in comparison to what he must have gone through already and what he was living. Moving in with strangers, meeting a new school family, making new friends, missing his parents, siblings, and friends.

Have you seen the heart-wrenching short film ReMoved?
If not, set 13 minutes aside and prepare to be moved ...
first to tears, then to action.
There's more work to be done, that's for sure.
Let's start by creating an awareness about the need for quality foster parents and ensuring the right of every child a safe, secure, loving environment 
in which to thrive.

Won't you join us in helping celebrate Foster Care?

Click the graphic above to read a post by Sybil from She Lives Free about National Foster Care Month 2014 and link your story if you've got a foster-care connection.

Oh, and you can bet that when June 1st rolls around, my foster sister JoAnn will call my mom, just to talk, and tell her to wish me a happy birthday from her. She has done it every year, to this day, since we fostered her, and I don't see her stopping now. The care part of Foster Care just took on a whole new meaning, didn't it?

To all of the foster families - past, present and future - 
thank you, for fostering children and feeding souls!


  1. Barbara, this is beautiful, thank you so much for sharing from the perspective of a sibling of foster children! Also, thank you for the movie recommendation - I had not heard about it, but will most certainly be checking it out!!

  2. Your parents fostering those kids fostered a caring spirit in their daughter!


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