USA (MNN) — Although we’re nearing the end of May, it’s still National Foster Care Month. There are 400,000 children in foster care in the U.S. on any given day.
If you’ve ever thought of being a foster parent, did one of these reasons stop you? I’m working full time. I already have kids of my own. I’m a single parent.
52-year-old Kathy Hagler fits into all those categories, but that didn’t stop her from touching two little girls’ lives as a foster parent.
When *Hannah, 7, and* Camille, 8, first came to Hagler through Buckner International, the sisters struggled to adjust. They didn’t know how to eat with utensils and couldn’t bathe themselves.
But recently Hagler attended Hannah’s school production. Hannah wore a rainbow costume, sang, and did the hand motions with the other children.
“For most parents, that wouldn’t be such a big deal,” Hagler said. “But for my foster daughter, I really wasn’t sure she would be allowed to participate. She doesn’t like following directions and had been kicked out of rehearsal at least once. Seeing her do her part, do it correctly and fit right in with the other kids made me really proud.”
At the start of foster care with Hagler, Hannah was very aggressive. She would throw tantrums, demand to go home, and tell Hagler she hated her. Camille was the polar opposite as she couldn’t make eye contact, didn’t want other people to come near her, and was very reserved.
“We have seen so much change and progress with the girls who are placed with Kathy right now,” said Alejandra Ramos-Smith, caseworker for Buckner Children and Family Services in Midland.
“Now, Camille runs up to you, hugs you, and is always talking,” Ramos-Smith said. “Hannah is able to be redirected, says Yes, ma’am and No, ma’am, has learned manners, has even said to Kathy, ‘I love you. Thank you for what you’ve done for me.’
“These have been hard girls,” Ramos-Smith said. “The girls wouldn’t sleep, they had tantrums and nightmares. At the very beginning, Kathy would get up with them, rock them, hold them, sing them sweet songs and tell them God loves them. She’d do that with both girls. So the first couple of months, she was running on very little sleep. All of our foster parents are very good, but I think Kathy just goes above and beyond.”
Tomorrow, May 21, Buckner is holding a prayer vigil in Dallas, Texas for foster children. Even if you’re not local to Dallas, please set a calendar reminder and join them in prayer wherever you live.
Click here to learn more about becoming a foster parent with Buckner.
*Names changed to protect privacy