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Foster care advocates: “Never underestimate the power of a praying wife”

By Lauren Hollon Sturdy
Photography by Chelsea Quackenbush

Locke and Kara Curfman might be the strongest foster care advocates you’ll ever meet. Even with three birth kids and two toddlers they adopted through foster care, they’re still taking foster placements. They’re serious about children.

In fact, they’re such big advocates that they were recognized by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) in Washington, D.C. as 2011 Angels in Adoption. They honored alongside 150 Angels at the national event.

But they weren’t always this involved. For most of their life together, the couple has been at odds on foster care. It started when they first married and Kara was a school teacher.

“There were lots of foster kids in our school,” she said. “I remember one kid in particular. He was very rough, very hardened, weighed about 250 pounds and was violent. I met his foster parents and was mortified – I wanted to bring him home with us right then. My husband said no, and I told him, ‘Never underestimate the power of a praying wife!’”

Kara meant it. She prayed for 15 years that Locke would warm to the idea of foster care. When a string of articles on foster care and adoption kept cropping up in their local newspaper, she cut them out and gave them to Locke to read. Finally, he came around.

“When we started talking about this, it was a family decision,” Locke said. “You hear people warn you that fostering will alter your family, and it does. God won’t keep it from happening or take away the struggles and the pain, but He will walk you through it.”

Their biological children have adjusted to the changes. Caleb, 15, has always been great with young kids and likes working in their church nursery. Colin, 8, is the entertainer of the family. He loves to play and make the little ones laugh. They call Caroline, 12, “Little Mama.” She’s a natural at caring for the baby – their newest foster placement – and can pack a diaper bag for any possible emergency.

The Curfmans have been fostering for two and a half years and have had six placements. Their first placement, a 4-month-old boy, returned to his family after five months.

“I’m not going to tell you that when they go back it’s not hard,” Kara said. “It’s very, very hard. I get attached. But you’ve got to be willing to go through that heartbreak. That’s where God walks you through.”

Kylie was placed with the Curfmans in September 2009. They finalized her adoption in November 2010, and she’s now 28 months old. Paris came to their family in July 2010. Her adoption was finalized in September 2011, and now she’s 21 months old. Both girls are happy, playful and thriving as the newest Curfmans.

Their multiracial family turns heads in the grocery store, but Kara always uses it as an opportunity to advocate for foster care, taking down others’ contact information and sending invitations to meetings and classes.

“Our efforts to recruit other families have been successful,” she said. “People see us and know we’re just regular people – not ‘Super Mom’ or ‘Super Dad.’ I had someone e-mail me today to ask when the next class is, and I get so excited.

“Fostering isn’t the easiest thing you’ve ever done, for sure,” she said. “But I always tell people, ‘If Christians aren’t doing it, then who does that leave?’”

To learn more about becoming a foster parent with Buckner, visit www.beafamily.org.

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