Every month in our Finding a Family report, we feature a child waiting to be adopted in Northwest Arkansas. This month, we are highlighting a foster family that is sharing their experience and why they are encouraging others to get involved.
After 11 years of marriage and two biological kids of their own, Debra and Greg Houser decided it was time to start fostering children. They have fostered eight children and ended up adopting three.
“Whether they are infants or whether they’re a 17-year-old about to age out of foster care, every kid deserves a family… Every kid that’s come into our house, I still remember their names, I still remember what their faces look like, our goal was always to treat those kids like they were family whether they were there for one day or whether they were there permanently… They’ve changed our lives, they’ve made us better people,” said Debra.
Fostering is an experience the entire family cherishes.
“It’s trying, it’s taxing sometimes and very very busy, but it’s never a dull moment and we enjoy it every day,” said Greg.
“When you open up your family like that, you’re helping kids in need and I’ve always just loved the idea of that,” said Delaney Houser, one of the couple’s biological children.
Seeing children leave is definitely bittersweet for the Housers.
“Just know that when you go into helping and fostering, still the number one goal for the state and for DHS is to try to reunify with the parents,” said Greg.
“It should be a celebration when those kids go home, even though they will take a piece of your heart with them at all times,” said Debra.
If you are on the fence about whether to foster, Debra and Greg said the answer is simple.
“If you see the need and it speaks to your heart, then you are ultimately a great candidate regardless,” said Greg.
“If you’re going to care about children who aren’t yours and you’re afraid you’re going to get too attached, that usually means you’re the type of person that needs to be there,” said Debra.
There are hundreds of foster children needing a home in Northwest Arkansas. If you are interested in becoming foster parents, contact recruitment specialist Kristy Franks at Kristy.Franks@dhs.arkansas.gov.