16 Kids??? We Need a Bigger House!

Real Estate Agent with Prudential Rubloff

Honestly, our 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath 1950s ranch is plenty big for our family.  The truth is Kevin and I have been foster parents for the last 6 years.  Our two birth children are 9 and 7 years old.  We have fostered 14 children over the years.  They have ranged in age from 4 days to 18 years.  We adopted our 2-1/2 year old son in 2005.  We are hoping to do the same with our 9 month old daughter.

 You might be asking why I am bringing this up in a Real Estate blog.  Well, May is National Foster Care Month.  Kevin and I enjoy selling real estate; it allows us to do what we really love - help kids.

There are currently 513,000 children in foster care.  Could you open up your heart for one of them?  If you are interested in learning more about becoming a foster parent, please feel free to contact me or the numerous websites available. 

One of our goals is to educate families to the joy of foster care.  Joy of foster care you ask - yes, it is a joy.  I won't lie, there are many hard times.  Times going to and from the doctor, the hospital stays, phone calls from the principal, midnight feedings, monthly social worker visits and angry birth parent. 

However, nothing is more rewarding than helping a child who is scared and uncertain about the future.  I could tell you even more stories full of love and compassion:

  • When our son dished out pancakes to all the children at the table and served himself last
  • Then he bought the whole block of kids ice cream with his first allowance
  • Watching proudly as his baseball team (the first baseball team he was ever on) won the championship and then feeling even more proud when he gave his birth mom the winning trophy
  • Then there was the joyful yell our 16 year old made after getting a guitar on her birthday and the priceless look on her face when she learned to play chords
  • And another daughter was able to perform with the chorus at her high school graduation and march with her classmates to get her high school diploma
  • There are the first steps, the first smiles and being called mama
  • But the best of all is the joy of going to city and standing before the judge as he finalizes the adoption

People often ask "You can't keep them all.  How do you let them go?  I couldn't do that."  Well, it is very hard.  Many tears have been shed over the years.  My older children still mourn the loss of their brothers and sisters.  However, we must look at it from this point of view.

These children are in our life for a reason.  If our only purpose is to keep them safe and loved while they are with us, then that is what we must do.

Peace - Sherry


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Paula Henry
Home to Indy Team @ HomeSmart Realty Group - Avon, IN
Realtor - Indianapolis Real Estate - 317-605-4174
Kevin and Sherry - All I can say is "God Bless You"! I have never been a foster parent, per se, but did run my own daycare for 9 years and the blessing is undescribable. Knowing you have made a difference in the life of a child, whether for one day, a year or a lifetime, is payment enough.
May 02, 2007 03:24 AM #1
Eva Wilson
Long & Foster Real Estate - Camp Springs, MD
BS, GRI - DC Metro Area - Home Marketing Specialist: The DVD Lady

My husband and I want to start adopting older children later on.  We want to be the ones to adopt them right before they leave the system so that they can go to college and when people say, where are you going for Christmas Break, they can say, "home!" I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have the option of going home on breaks.  I want to get them around 9th or 10th grade so that they can do all the things high school kids do... proms, dances, sports, SAT's, etc. and not wonder where the money is coming from, or if they will be supported.



May 02, 2007 03:32 AM #2
Carol Spengel
Prudential Rubloff - Wheaton, IL
Wheaton IL

Paula - you are so right.  Even the littlest guestures make a difference.

Eva - you are wonderful to be thinking about taking on older kids.  They are the ones who need a lot of love and support.  Even when they think they don't.  I wish you all the best.

May 02, 2007 03:37 AM #3
Dick & Sandy Beals
Wilmington Real Estate 4U Wilmington, NC - Wilmington, NC

WOW!!! You both are an inspiration!  God works in mysterious ways, best to you both

Dick Beals

May 02, 2007 04:05 AM #4
Kevin Spengel

Hey, it's me, kev, the fat guy next to beautiful Sherry in the picture!

Of course, I agree with everything Sherry said, but I want to clarify a couple of things...

One of our placements was for a sibling group, and when they left, it was very hard.  We were together almost a year, and it seemed that we'd be able to adopt.  We still miss and love those kids, but to answer the obvious question, yes, we'd do it again even if we knew they'd leave at the end.  Victor Hugo wrote, "it is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all".  That's true.

Several other foster placements were warm, loving transitions to adoptive families, were short-term (respit care) and we knew going in the kids would be with us for a short time.  We call that role "foster aunt and uncle".  They stay for days or weeks, sometimes until a permanent home is selected.  We love 'em up, spoil them, take them to see things they've never seen before...like an Aunt and Uncle from out of town, right?  We need families like that too.  Any God-loving people with an extra room in their house, and in their heart could be a foster home.  

On the upside, we learned in our certification training that 70% of the kids who enter the system do not return home.  I about fell out of my chair when I heard that.  70%!!!! I couldn't decide if that was awful, or good news.  I was told that by the time case workers decide to come for the children, the parents have been given numerous chances.  It is not a quick or trivial decision.  The repeat offenders, neglecting their kids, allowing rampant truancy, or involving them in criminal acts, end up losing custody of their kids.  70% of the time, those parents do not attend the required parenting classes, or regularly attend the parent visits at the agency.  I find that terribly sad.  Some people say, "it's for the best, and the kids are better with you".  I feel conflicted about that.  First, logically, I know a child belongs with their mother and father.  Spiritually, we don't know what the plan is for these kids, but if we are blessed with them, we do our best while we got 'em.  We want the kids to be safe, but I also feel that the best thing to pray for is for the birth parents to turn things around.  Get off the drugs, get sober, find work, and someplace safe to live.  Those things don't happen much, and the kids need safe. loving homes to be raised in.

That's all for now.

peace to you,



May 24, 2007 05:24 PM #5
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Carol Spengel

Wheaton IL
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