I'm not sure why my parents waited until I was in 5th grade to pursue foster children, maybe it was launching the older kids first. My mother was a member of the Children's Aid Society as was our neighbor. At least once, they held a picnic at the neighbor's because they had a pool. The children from the home were younger when I was small, I looked at them as potential siblings. Something like the old Shirley Temple movies, that shaped my reality for a while.
Another neighbor had a foster girl come live with them when we were 4. I'm not sure how Karen and I met, I imagine it was a phone call between the mothers to arrange a meeting. We were fast friends and about 9 -10 years old, we almost looked like twins. I wrote a poem that was published in the WMHS newspaper about the Twins at the Fair. We wore similar outfits that were not planned. We went on many day outings together with either family. Her foster mom liked when I came over because she could make chicken, Karen didn't like chicken. My mom made sauerkraut for Karen for the same reason, I detested sauerkraut.
I think as this friendship developed and maybe financially as girls were out of college, my parents applied for foster children. My mother thought she would get a young girl, like Karen, but at this time young children were rare. Teenagers needed homes.
Our first girl was Pam, 17, almost 18. She was working on her GED and had a boyfriend she was pretty serious about. A few years later, my parents helped plan their wedding. A very nice girl, but not the companion a 10 year old girl was seeking.
I wrote about Debbie- see Summer of '72.
A few years later, my parents were offered a job as house parents at the Children's Home, but that is a different story.
Pam and Debbie were the extent of our fostering in the system. Many people lived with us over the years, uncles, friends down on their luck, teachers, a secretary. Our doors were always opened. Even when my mother was paralyzed in bed, the church would call for a room for a traveling singing group, after I had even left home.
My parents had big hearts and fortunately a big house to accommodate all.