Foster care that leaves a mark on the heart

James and Vanessa Williams have fostered many children in the past 10 years. But each one, they say, has left a mark on their hearts.

Take their very first placement: three siblings. They still keep in touch on a regular basis, and the oldest sibling is now a dad himself. 

And another: A young man who has since been adopted and now lives with his family in Houston, where he plays high school football. James and Vanessa still keep in touch with him regularly, and they plan to visit and watch one of his games this fall. 

The Williamses are a special type of foster family. They provide care to children classified as therapeutic, meaning that they might have extra behavioral, emotional, social or physical issues that need to be addressed.

“You know, it’s not always easy being a foster parent,” Vanessa said. “But I love to minister to the children. The kids come with behavioral problems, learning disabilities. We want to make sure they get the love and support they need. We want them to be strong and independent when they leave our home. Buckner has been a big support and has given us a lot of resources to find places that we can get answers to the questions that we have for our kids’ needs.”

One of the unique Buckner resources the Williams family always takes advantage of is the annual Buckner Foster Family Camp. 

“We instill [a love for] family togetherness and time with our children," James said. "Every year, we attend Foster Family Camp as one big, happy family, staying in a cabin and having a chance to bond together. It’s great. The support they give us there has really been a big help.”

The Williamses foster because they genuinely want to help the children who come into their home succeed and also so they can share with them the love of Christ.

“We’ve had three decide to be baptized over the years, and the two ladies we have now have recently accepted Christ into their lives. They’re very faithful in working at church.”

Today, the Williams have two teenage girls in their home, ages 17 and 18. And just like any of the other children who have found a home with James and Vanessa, they are focused on getting an education.

“One of the things we instill in all our children is to get a good education and to get in a good school,” Vanessa said. “We want them to know that all things are possible.”

To learn more about the need for therapeutic foster parents, visit buckner.org/therapeutic.

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