BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – The holiday season is a time for family, but what about the children in our area who don't have one?
Officials say there is a huge need for foster parents in Brunswick County right now.
According to the Department of Social Services, there are 135 children in the foster care program and only 24 foster homes. There are simply not enough places for the children to remain in Brunswick County. Approximately 70% of the kids are placed in surrounding counties, away from their friends, schools, and central support systems.
But, there are parents out there who have made it their mission to become foster parents. Neal Grimes is a pastor at Shoreline Baptist Church in Southport. He and his wife Leslie are happy now, but happiness wasn't always a guarantee. Their son died from medical problems when he was just four days old! Eventually, the couple adopted two sons, Solomon and Benjamin. But, when the Grimes' family decided to adopt again, they went to the Brunswick County Social Services office to enroll in the foster program. Grimes says that's when God changed their plans.
"The director of the program came to us and said they had the opportunity for two young girls who needed a place to live," said Grimes. "Leslie and I looked at each other and both said, how can we say no?"
So now they have four children, two boys and two girls. The girls come from the foster program so we can't show pictures of them on television or over the web. But, take it from Grimes, foster parenting is a rewarding experience.
"Being with them has been life changing because they've taught us things and hopefully we've changed their lives too," said Grimes.
He just wishes that more families would do the same.
"It's not their fault that they ended up in this situation," said Grimes. "They need you, they need me. They need the social services here. They need people to care about them."
Adam Mathis is a brand new foster parent of a baby girl. He calls it the best three months of his life.
"Not everything is going to be easy, but I'll tell you it's well worth it," said Mathis. "It's probably the best thing that we've ever done. I would highly recommend it if anybody was on the fence. You always think that someone else is going to do it but they're not, you need to step up and do it and help these children out."
Becoming a foster parent is easy. The Brunswick County DSS is hosting a series of training classes for potential foster parents starting in July.
To sign up, contact Tamela Jones at 910-253-2112. For more information, click here.
If you can't become a foster parent, consider donating to the Brunswick County's Angel Tree Program.
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