A Growing Need For Fostering Families

By: Lauren Squires Email
By: Lauren Squires Email

Almost every night of the week you'll find Teresa and Jeff Eske sitting around the kitchen table with their family. But this table has been dealt a lot of people over the years

“This actually was a kitchen table that we inherited from Jeff's parents so it's seen a lot of people sitting around it, talking laughing eating,” Teresa said.

Jeff's parents were foster parents. He's made it a family tradition, from a young age he's welcomed kids into his home. In 2006 the Eske's became foster parents.

“We're not spectacular, we're just average people, average people can do this,” Teresa said.

A year later they welcomed Ny and Nya into their home.

“They were integrated in very quickly and pretty substantially. They always say treat them like your own and I don't know how else to treat kids,” Teresa said.

The Eskes may not see themselves as special but groups like Lutheran Family Services think otherwise.

“The ultimate goal most of the time for kids in foster care is for them to be able to be safely back with their family of origin,” Foster care supervisor Jewel Schifferms said.

With 4,500 kids in foster care statewide and 5 to 6 new referrals every day, there are just not enough families like the Eske's to meet the demand.

“We personally know some kids that really benefit from a positive, stable home,” Teresa said.

In the case Nya and Ny, that investment has paid off in a big way for everyone, they were adopted by the Eske's in June.

“Now they're officially ours but I think they've been ours for a long time,” Eske said.

They hope to spend even more time as a family around the kitchen table, hoping others will follow their lead.

Not every foster care home leads to adoption...in fact the main goal of foster care is to return a child to their family.

Lutheran Family Services is also looking for homes to place siblings; they say right now many kids have to split up.

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