Children’s Home and Aid celebrates foster families


A Rockford organization honors those that go above and beyond to find homes for kids in the Stateline.

May marks National Foster Care Month —  a time to thanks the people that help children find permanent homes and connections.

Friday, Children’s Home and Aid hosted an event for foster parents to acknowledge their sacrifice.

“We just want to ensure that we appreciate them taking on this difficult task of helping these children and the families,” said Children’s Home & Aid program manager Heather France.

Among those being celebrated was Mary Gatlin, she’s a foster mom to a six year old.

She says while it’s been challenging at times, she wouldn’t trade it for the world.

“Once a little child enters your home, you can’t give up,” said Gatlin. “While there’s challenges and while there’s behaviors, there’s good days and there’s hugs, there’s kisses, there’s love.”

Friday’s event was also a recruiting event. Bethany Ibeling and her husband Craig have their own three kids but always knew she wanted to look into fostering because she was adopted herself.

“Knowing what I was given, if we can bless other children and share the blessings that we have been given, why not?,” said Bethany Ibeling.

Children advocates say there’s a definite need in the Rockford region.

“Reach out to any of the foster parents,” said Gatlin. “There’s groups out there, we need you, we need foster parents so so badly.”

“They really get a chance to help that child flourish, getting them in the needed services,” said France. “Really seeing that child grow.”

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