While just under 700,000 kids are or have been in foster care at some point, thousands are still on a waiting list. This is only for the United States, meaning the numbers worldwide are much higher. Taking care of children who aren’t your own isn’t for everyone. Being a foster mom requires a great deal of love, patience, understanding, and acceptance.
Remember, many kids who go into foster care come from abusive or neglectful situations. Some are “drug babies,” which makes caring for them even more challenging. But for one foster mom, none of that mattered.
To her, the age or medical status of the kids didn’t matter.
Her name is Linda Herring and now at 75-years-old, she’s retired from fostering children. But for the past 50 years, she dedicated her life to giving kids a chance at life. Hailed from Johnson County, Iowa, being a foster mom was Linda’s lifelong mission, one she excelled at.
Linda faced the challenges of fostering head-on.
As any parent can attest to, raising even one child comes with a lot of ups and downs. Now imagine having an entire houseful of kids, most with some type of special need. Some of the children were relatively normal per se. But others had either physical or mental difficulties due to their initial upbringing.
To outsiders, what Linda did for foster children was work…to her, it wasn’t. She felt honored to have the opportunity to love kids that others didn’t want or care about. These weren’t just foster kids but “her kids.” She treated each one of them as if they belonged to her.
At the same time Linda fostered children, she ran a daycare. But wait, there’s more. That was what she did during the day. At night, she’d head to the local high school where she performed custodian duties. That’s more than the average person could do. Linda was also a first-responder volunteer. “Wow,” that’s all I can say.
She and her husband Bob have eight kids. Of those, three were her foster kids who they officially adopted. One of them is Anthony. At only six months old, the court placed him in the care of Linda. At the age of three, the couple made him a legal member of the Herring family. Now 39, Anthony says, “I appreciate being adopted even more today as a parent than when I was a child.”
Anthony went on to say that he’s forever grateful for the life that Linda and Bob gave him. “She and dad taught me that family isn’t determined by blood, it’s who you have in your life to love.” For the Herrings, they had a tremendous amount of love to go around. No child had to sacrifice while in her care
Not only was Linda an extraordinary foster mom, but she taught “her kids” valuable life lessons along the way. Two of the foster kids they adopted have serious medical issues. But thanks to her undying devotion, they’re both thriving today. Anthony summed it as when he said, “Mom taught me how to appreciate and understand children with special needs.”
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