Many Audrain County residents who have recently visited the courthouse might have noticed 63 blue pinwheels placed in the lawn outside.
Each pinwheel put into the ground represents a foster child in Audrain County. It ties into the National Child Abuse Prevention Month campaign in April. The local display was organized by Chief Deputy Juvenile Officer Kerri Ferrari.
The types of abuse suffered by children in Audrain County and surrounding areas might include emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, etc.
This pinwheel display shows a glaring need for foster care homes in the county.
Unfortunately, with 63 kids in need of a place to stay, there are only six certified foster care families in the county. With some of those homes filling up empty beds temporarily or permanently, the list has dwindled down to just two to three foster care homes with room.
This means that foster kids, who are already being removed from their homes, are now being pulled out of their school districts and away from their friends, many times moving two or three county’s away to the nearest foster care family.
Audrain County case workers might become slightly dependent on workers from other counties to help in the maintenance of a child. The distance causes a challenge to giving each kid the needed one-on-one experience.
It also severs necessary family ties to other family members.
My heart just breaks for these kids.
Due to circumstances likely out of their own control, their lives are being disrupted and are faced with the uncertainty of what is next in their immediate future. Ages range from infants to teenagers and each of these kids just want someone to be there for them during a difficult transition time.
Some of them will one day go home while others may end up in lingering in the foster child process unless someone seeks adoption.
I want to challenge all of our readers to truly look at your own personal family situation.
Are you an “empty nester?”
Do you have a spare bedroom or two in your house?
Do you have kids eager to spend time with other kids to provide them the sibling love they may not be use to experiencing?
My wife and I were one of the six foster families in the county until this past Wednesday when God blessed us with the adoption of a 13-year-old boy.
We are extremely humbled and look forward to the opportunity of raising him through his next stage in life and look forward to being there for him for as long as God allows us to.
With our three bedroom house, we’re full. I pray the Lord some day allows us to move into a bigger home so we can continue to be a place of safe haven for foster kids.
These kids don’t deserve what they’re going through.
I look forward to the day where there are no blue pinwheels placed in the courthouse lawn during the month of April. Please take the time to pray about entering this wonderful world of being a foster parent.
Our family has enjoyed the blessing of having two different kids live in our home for multiple months. I look forward to hearing your stories of how God has blessed you with a foster child living in your home.
Together, all of us can make a difference.
For more information on how to become a foster parent, contact Melissa Maxwell at 573-581-3312. If you don’t hear back from her right away, be sure to follow up. I know she is looking forward to hearing from you.