A 75-year-old woman has been responsible for fostering more than 600 children over the past five decades in her home in Johnson County, Iowa.
Linda Herring and her husband, Bob, began fostering children when they lived in Oxford, Iowa, and continued to do so when they moved to Tiffin, Iowa.
“My best friend was doing foster care for teenage girls, and I thought, ‘Well, that would be nice to do the same,’ but I wanted little kids,” Herring told CNN. “So, I talked to the Department of Human Services and agreed to take kids with medical needs.”
Herring ran a home daycare as a foster mom during the day and worked as a school custodian by night to make ends meet.
She also served as a volunteer first responder for nearly 50 years.
But Herring is not just a foster mom. She has a total of eight children, three of whom were adopted out of the foster care system and five of which were her own.
“I appreciate being adopted even more today as a parent then I did when I was a child,” 39-year-old Anthony Herring told CNN. “I’m forever grateful for the life I was given. She and Dad have both taught me that family isn’t determined by blood, it’s who you have in your life to love.”
Anthony was placed in the Herring household as a six-month-old and was adopted into the Herring family at the age of three.
Herring seems to have passed on her “foster care trait.” Four out of her five biological children have fostered children and three of them have adopted children of their own.
Three of Herring’s grandchildren have also fostered children.
Herring’s motivation for fostering so many children simply boiled down to one thing: love.
“I would just love (my foster kids) just like they were my own, probably more than I should,” Herring said.
While Herring is no longer a foster parent, she enjoys the photographs and cards she receives from the children who have been adopted. She especially loves when her former foster children come and pay her a visit.
When Herring announced her decision to stop fostering, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors issued a resolution of appreciation on Thursday.
The Board of Supervisors, Department of Human Services and a standing room only crowd recognized Linda Faye Herring last night for nearly five decades of serving as a foster parent to more than 600 children in #JohnsonCountyIA. pic.twitter.com/wGV4jqEBMj
— Johnson County, Iowa (@JohnsonCountyIA) January 10, 2020
“The Department of Human Services would call Linda in the middle of the night to take a child, and she would meet anywhere to get a child,” the resolution said in recognition of Herring’s efforts.
“Linda mostly fostered young children with special medical needs and kept bins of clothes in her garage, stacked to the ceiling, labeled by size and gender. No one had to worry about a child going without clothes at Linda’s, even if they arrived with nothing but what they’re wearing,” the resolution continued.