Karen and Ray, residents of New Jersey, love parenting. They also believe in giving back to the world due in part to the fact they have been tremendously blessed in their lives. So it made sense to them to begin helping other children, especially as their biological children were getting older. That’s when their foster parenting journey began.

With training and help from Children’s Aid and Family Services, Karen and Ray have made a difference in the lives of 15 children who have lived in their care over the past decade. Some of those children belonged with them forever. Karen knew it at first glance. Others, they knew, would be passing through. But for the time they would live with Karen and Ray, they would have stability, love, and consistency.

Karen told NJ.com, “The biggest issue for foster kids is they’re not used to having consistency. It’s not easy being a foster parent. It might look easy, but with each kid, all of their fears and concerns come out. I had two teenage girls once, and they were the most difficult because they had years of abandonment and rejection. It’s a challenge — teaching them about consistency.” The family is still in touch with these girls who contact them during the holidays.

Children’s Aid and Family Services, the agency through which Karen and Ray adopted some of their foster children, is able to train and offer support because of their partnership with Greater Newark Holiday Fund.

Greater Newark Holiday Fund accepts donations from individuals and organizations wanting to make a difference in the lives of children. Karen is grateful for her life of foster parenting, and eternally grateful for the children in her home. “If you’re able to give a child structure, stability, consistency, and love, you can become a foster parent. There’s nothing like seeing the children become hopeful about the future,” Karen says.