In an effort to show their appreciation and gratitude for Lincoln County’s foster parents, county officials took time earlier this Thanksgiving week to recognize those families for the role they play in the lives of local children.
Sandy Kennedy, foster care and adoptions program manager for the county’s Department of Social Services, honored those parents making a difference at Monday’s Board of Commission meeting, wrapping up events conducted throughout November as part of “Adoption Awareness Month.”
Lincoln County currently has 17 foster families, and several of those were in attendance Monday night to not only be recognized, but also to express why they chose to give back by sheltering children in need of a safe home.
“They just need love and care,” an emotional Tonya Curtis told commissioners.
She and her husband, Jerry, were unable to have kids of their own and had looked into adoption. They realized how many kids in Lincoln County needed help, love and a safe environment, she said, and have since adopted four, about to be five, foster children.
“I can’t imagine turning them away,” she added.
Marty and Tammy Bland expressed similar sentiments, having adopted three children themselves.
“We are the ones that are lucky to have them,” Tammy Bland said.
Ted and Kim Palmer likewise emphasized their “call to care for the orphan.” The couple has adopted one child and is in the process of adopting more.
The continuing need for foster care in Lincoln County was also made apparent.
Chairman Alex Patton stressed that more foster parents are currently required, saying that some children have been sent to other counties when there is nowhere else for them to go.
Sandy Houser, foster care supervisor for the DSS, told the Times-News Tuesday that the number of foster families in the county is lower than in previous years, while the number of children in need of homes is up. As such, she confirmed, some of these children end up being placed in surrounding counties.
Between 20 and 25 local kids have come into foster care this year alone, Houser estimated.
“There is a huge need in Lincoln County right now for foster parents to take care of our children,” she added.
Kennedy said Monday night that the DSS could never compensate current foster families for the sacrifices they make. The financial burdens and sleepless nights can never be repaid. Why then, she asked, do these foster parents keep on giving?
Their reward is not monetary, she said. Instead, they are rewarded through knowing that they are making a difference in and changing a child’s life.
For more information on becoming a foster parent, contact Robin Diggs with the DSS at (704) 736-8782.