Robert and Gloria Osborn
UMCH Foster Parents
Robert and Gloria Osborn have lovingly fostered more than 75 children over the past 19 years. The Osborn’s are deservingly retiring soon and The Children’s Home wishes this special couple a very happy retirement. The Children’s Home mission is to restore children and families from trauma through Jesus Christ. Our mission cannot be fulfilled without the Osborn’s dedication to fostering, along with our several other wonderful UMCH foster parents.
Today marks the last day of National Foster Care Month. The Osborn’s were featured in the spring 2017 edition Signposts that highlights three long-standing foster parents and their dedication to the ministry of fostering. As The Children’s Home wishes Robert and Gloria Osborn a happy retirement, we treasure their parting words of wisdom as shared in Signposts.
Robert and Gloria Osborn apparently like big numbers. They’ve been married for 45 years, have been members of the Ray of Hope Church for 30 years, and have seen 76 foster children come and go out of their Ellenwood home over the course of the last 19 years. The last one just left, when the child transitioned to another family for the purpose of adoption. But that doesn’t mean Robert and Gloria, who are both retired, are going to sit back and rest on their laurels. They continue to be active with The Children’s Home, supporting other foster parents, participating in training sessions, and, most importantly, serving as an example for future foster families as well.
What called you to become foster parents?
Gloria: My mother was a foster parent. I was young, and at the time, we lived in a two-bedroom house. The foster child was a little boy, and after a certain age, he had to leave because he had to have a separate bedroom. It hurt me when he left, and I never forgot that. I also had an aunt who was a foster parent, and we grew up knowing her foster kids. I think she had like 38 different kids.
What is the most challenging thing about being a foster parent?
Gloria: When the children first come, after being taken away from their home, they’re scared, and it takes you a while to get them comfortable. The saddest thing is the details of how they ended up coming into foster care and the things that were going on in the home, and hoping that their parents get their lives together.
What is the most rewarding part of being a foster parent?
Robert: When the kids come up to you and hug you and they tell you that they love you. And seeing them either going back home or going to be adopted.
How have your family, friends, co-workers, etc. reacted to your fostering all these years?
Gloria: The first thing they always say is that they couldn’t do this, that they would get too attached. And you do get attached. But our calling is to take care of them until they find a place for them. You get in your mind that you’re going to give them the best care and get them as stable as possible so that they’ll be able to move on to a better home. And you’re so busy trying to get them up to speed, because they’re so behind on where they should be in school, manners, and just all kinds of stuff, when they either get to go home or they’re adopted, you’re glad for them. And you know they’re going there being as stable as possible and being able to love the people.
What advice would you give to potential foster parents?
Robert: It completely changes your life. Gloria: You realize that there are so many children that are in dire need of help and in dangerous situations and that you can help them, and you can love them, and let them go on to a permanent situation knowing that you did the best you could for them. It’s a calling, for sure. God has put this in your mind. So you do what needs to be done to help them.
Do you have any additional thoughts regarding fostering you’d like to share?
Gloria: It’s an awesome experience. It’s amazing to see how the kids just blossom, and it’s like, wow, I helped do this.