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A commitment to making a good home

May 29, 2013
Foster parents Larry, left, and Robin, right, with Bradley and Johnathan

Foster parents Larry, left, and Robin, right, with Bradley and Johnathan

Foster Parenting through
Youth Villages

At Youth Villages, we see our foster parents as crucial allies in helping children overcome past trauma and move on to live successful lives. We know that a loving family who treats their foster child like one of their own is more important, more life-changing and more empowering than anything else we can give a child. Because we know that, we provide our foster parents with 24/7 support. Call 1-888-MY-YV-KID to learn more.

He’s been foster parenting with his wife for going on two years, and they’ve settled into what they do pretty well.

They’re both quick to smile and offer something to eat or drink, but don’t mistake that for being carefree. In their time foster parenting, they’ve seen their share of the benefits and challenges of fostering children.

“You have to be committed to the kids,” Larry said, holding Johnathan, 17 months, who was adopted by the family in February. “When they come here they’re at home.”

They got Johnathan first when his mother fostered with them. She terminated her rights, which led to the adoption. Prior to Johnathan, Robin and Larry adopted Bradley, 15. He was one of four siblings in foster care and stayed with them for a few respite visits. They were looking to adopt, which fit into Bradley’s plans well.

“I wanted a family,” he said. “I wanted someone to love me and take care of me.”

Bradley’s not a typical 15-year-old. Mild-mannered and well-spoken, he prefers to be outside riding his bicycle than inside playing video games.

He enjoys working on computers, just not playing games on them. He was in foster care on two separate occasions, totaling about nine years.

“It went pretty quick with Bradley,” Robin said. “I never thought I’d love these children like they were my own, but I do.”

Larry and Robin had long discussions before committing to be foster parents. Robin was more hesitant, but they both knew in their hearts they could make a good home for children.

“Larry initiated it,” Robin said. “He thought we would be good at doing this.”

Robin prayed on it and they signed up for Youth Villages’ free classes to become foster parents.

Two years later, they’ve had a wealth of experiences and fulfillment that only making a home for children can bring.

“I just thought we’ve got this big old house and we both want kids around,” Larry said.

But it hasn’t always been great. Larry recalled one girl who came to visit and was especially difficult. Even after she left for a bit, they welcomed her back as if nothing had happened, and she continued her difficult behavior.

“That girl took a piece of my heart with her when she left,” Larry said. “She still calls from time to time and calls me dad.”

The family regularly attends church. When the children don’t have church clothes, Robin buys them. For Larry and Robin, it’s not a process or set of rules. It’s first about making a good home, then being committed to helping the children who come through their door.

“They’re all my children,” Larry, who has a biological son, said. “There’s no difference. All the children need love and a good place to live.”

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