Foster Parenting

 

What My Foster Parents Did For Me

Published in the Adventist Review on Christmas Eve - 
Issue Title: Midnight Clear 
1987, Circulation  - Worldwide

By Kathi Stringer

I’ll never forget how I met the Forchers.  Some might call it a coincidence; others, a miracle.  For me it was very special.

Dad and we four children were on our way from Riverside, California, to Oregon.  I was eight years old, the oldest of the four.  We made it as far as Dinuba; a little town 250 miles up the road in central California’s San Joaquin Valley.

In Dinuba, Dad started running around with a guy named Jim.  We stayed in my Aunt’s vacant ranch house.  Later we moved to a place called the “Green apartments” – undoubtedly the lowest rentals in town.  I still remember how Dad cleaned up the place.  He would hose it out with a garden hose.  Then we would put towels under our feet and scoot them around to dry the floor.

I met a man named Mr. Ed who worked as a custodian of a school a few blocks away.  He was middle-aged, stocky, and always doing something.  I knew by talking to him he was solid and stable.  He was my first adult friend, and I would visit him now and then.

Then Dad was out of work, and suddenly we were out in the street.  I can’t forget that night.  We walked to the houses of the people we knew, but none of them wanted to make room for us.  It was getting dark, and we were hungry.  Just when it seemed we would have to sleep in the street, I remembered Mr. Ed.  We went to his house.  When he opened the door he saw me and smiled.  “Mr. Ed, do you think we could have a glass of milk?” I asked.  He invited us all in and gave us something to eat.     

Dad talked privately with Mr. Ed, and then Mr. Ed made a phone call.  Soon we piled into his car and drove into the country to a well kept, turn-of-the-century ranch house.  Mr. Ed knocked on the door, and a tall, strong looking; older man and his wife answered it.  They were delighted to see us.  We took baths, and then they put us to bed, in real clean beds.  

The next morning Dad told us he was going away to find work and a place to live.  We stayed at the Forchers.  There we learned our morals.  We felt what it was like to be a family together with our new foster parents.  They gave us so many values that are with us today.  I was with them for 3 years, but in my heart it was a lifetime.  It was my first home.

Years later the Forchers told us about that night we came to them.  They had just finished praying for direction.  A few days earlier their foster child had gone back to his parents, leaving their home empty.  While they were still praying, the phone rang.  It was Mr. Ed.

I’ll always remember the Forchers, Mr. Ed, the Adventist school he lived next to, and the little church we went to every Sabbath morning.  Even today being in church gives me a special feeling of a time when we were vulnerable, impressionable.  A time when we needed a miracle and got one – The Forchers.  

In print for more than 150 years, the Adventist Review is the flagship journal of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.