Woman Fosters Over 80 Infants Over Three And A Half Decades — Says God Has ‘Handed Me A Gift’ To Pursue
May 01, 2021 by apost team
A woman from Hayward, California, southeast of San Francisco, has been a mother to over 80 babies over her many years of participating in the foster care system. Linda Owens is 78 years old and has been a foster mother for the past 34 years, taking on an important role for her foster children, as well as a handful of responsibilities that come with the position.
Owens is a retired grocery department manager in Alameda County who has taken on the full-time role of being a foster mother. She sometimes cares for more than one infant at a time, but typically only one so she can give the baby her undivided attention. According to KPIX 5’s April 2021 coverage, Owens passed a milestone when she took in her 81st foster baby over the 34 years she has been part of the foster care system. She took in a 7-week-old baby girl right after the infant left the hospital as a newborn.
Owens’ home is decked out with all the necessities one would need to take care of a baby, including bottles, food, clothes and toys. She has dedicated herself to her passion for caring for others, making it a full-time job. The woman, seemingly full of nothing but love and generosity, has even kept in touch with some of the children she has fostered over the years, being able to see them grow up into young adults. According to KPIX 5, some of the past foster children have stayed in contact with Owens, sending her emails or letters, talking over the phone and even visiting her in person from time to time.
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An Earnest Foster Mother
According to the Children’s Bureau, 19 percent of those in foster care in 2019 were less than 1 year old when they entered the system. By September 2019, only 4 percent of that original number met the same age range.
During an interview with the KPIX 5, Owens talked about what made her decide to become a resource parent for such a wide range of children. Although there are 500 resource parents for the county, Owens has been one of the longest-serving.
“It’s a challenging job but very rewarding,” Owens said. The big-hearted woman gets paid for her work, but she still chooses to use some of her money at times to buy baby gear for her foster kids. According to KPIX 5, the job is a labor of love for Owens.
“This is what God’s handed me a gift to do,” Owens said. Although she has been taking care of babies since she was just a child herself, Owens has faced some challenges with the infants she has brought into her home. Some of the newborns were exposed to drugs in the womb, while others have had developmental delays. Some of them have a hard time sleeping soundly through the night.
Mia Buckner-Preston is the Placement Division Director of the Alameda County Department of Children and Family Services, which puts children in foster homes. She talked about the incredible work that Owens has done over the years. “Her experience, the care, the love she provides to the babies, it’s immeasurable,” Buckner-Preston said. “She’s in a category almost all by herself.”
A Lifetime Of Service
Pediatrician Mika Hiramatsu also chimed in with her thoughts on all the great work Owens has provided for the county, as Owens has brought many of her foster babies to her throughout her long service. “She’s always been very optimistic, always determined to give these babies the best possible start in their lives,” Hiramatsu said.
It’s not just the children who have benefited from all the incredible work Owens has done but also the future parents who adopt them as well. A woman named Erica adopted a baby girl that Owens had actually fostered 12 years prior and received plenty of great advice about the baby, especially how to help her sleep through the night. “She’s in her crib. Leave her alone. I know you want to play with her but if you wake her up, you’ll start interrupting her sleep,” Erica said, detailing the advice she was given.
Erica’s daughter has started growing up but still visits Owens to share all the young girl’s milestones together. “She’s turned out beautiful,” Owens said. “It makes you feel good that you fulfilled your job.” All of her hard work has led Owens to be the recipient of the Jefferson Award in the Bay Area on April 21, 2021.
Through many years of hard work and service, Owens has been able to help over 80 babies by taking them in as foster children. Even though she has had to say goodbye to all of them, she has managed to keep in touch with a few, celebrating their accomplishments along the way. Owens has a huge heart full of love and dedication to helping others.
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