By Chelsea Quackenbush
While most middle-aged parents are emptying out their nests, Ron and Donna Wells of Orange, Texas, are refilling theirs.
And refilling it and refilling it.
The couple became Buckner foster parents in 2004 after they felt God calling them to foster kids in the Southeast Texas area.
The Wellses had close friends who were houseparents for a foster group home of teenagers in the area. They helped out from time to time and “just fell in love with their kids and their kids just fell in love with us,” Donna Wells says.
After that, they started holding a church service on the Buckner Beaumont Children’s campus once a month. They prayed hard for the children and soon realized that their hearts were being changed and that perhaps this was their calling.
“Our daughter was 11 or 12 at the time – she did not know we had been praying about it because we thought it would be further down the road – and she told us, ‘We’re supposed to be a foster family’ … We thought that was confirmation,” Donna says.
In 2005, the Wellses received their first foster child. The experience was tough because it was their first placement and the situation didn’t end as well as they had hoped. But they pressed on and continued to take in children.
It wasn’t long before another child came into their family. They added several more children over the years, including two sisters, who have been with the Wellses for almost six years and are thriving at school and at home.
Ron and Donna say fostering children isn’t always easy but having rules and stability is essential for kids coming out of bad situations. They try to keep kids in touch with their parents as much as possible. They’ve invited parents to church and to celebrate holidays in their home.
“Our heart is for them to still be connected to their family because that’s their heart,” Donna says.
The Wellses prayed about whether they were supposed to adopt any of the children who passed through their home, but God confirmed that He wanted them to foster, they say.
“Ron and Donna see people for who they are,” Buckner case manager Kristin Wilson says. “Their gift of being spiritual mentors has been passed to their children, and now the kids are becoming spiritual mentors. The kids are developing spiritually and becoming who God intended them to be.”
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