Many people have a “calling” for foster care or adoption. Something on their heart that leads them to it. This is exactly what happened to Jennifer Larkin. She is a mother of nine children through foster care and adoption. She and her husband adopted nine of the twelve children that came through their home. “Each one of them is different in personality, but they all combine to make something great,” says Jennifer. Their daughter Dani came to them in 2006, then Jaysie in 2008, Cooper in 2011, Hope, Zach, Natalie, Ethan, Elijah in 2013, and finally Maci was adopted just a few weeks ago.
Originally, the calling for Jennifer was driven by her job as a teacher. She was teaching in a low-income area and discovered that many children did not have good family situations. That sparked her inclination to want to make a difference and “fight for them no matter what.”
Although being a foster parent has its own set of unique challenges, Jennifer says being a parent is amazing. She described foster parenting as the hardest, most rewarding job of your life. She has been asked if she would love biological children more. Her response? “That makes no sense to me. I love the children that enter my home the second I see them. There is nothing about them that makes them “less than.”
Jennifer states that the stereotype that kids in foster care are “bad kids” is simply not true. They have just been given a “low blow” by no fault of their own. Jennifer has also been told from people that they could not do foster care because the kids might go back with their biological families. She stated that while it can be hard for them to leave, as she has personally experienced, it is a wonderful thing to see families work so hard and “move mountains” to repair damage and get back together. It is not something that should be feared.
Jennifer’s greatest joy is seeing her children succeed. They are thriving at school and overcoming their challenges. Jennifer says, “When I see them (my children) doing something they love, I am their biggest cheerleader.”