Foster Care Month – Isabel Ketterling

May is National Foster Care Month. Throughout the month, we will be featuring stories of individuals and families at River Valley Church involved in the foster care system.


My husband and I were foster parents for 28 years and we had over 70 children live in our home. Most of the children were teenage girls that were on probation for drugs, underage drinking, stealing, etc. When we first became foster parents, the girls would tell me the horrible stories of sexual abuse from their own father, or their mother’s live-in boyfriend; of living a life not knowing where their next meal would come from, and the pain of knowing that no one cared about them.

I started to internalize this and I had no idea how to resolve the feelings I was having. I would cry myself to sleep every night because I didn’t know how I could ease their pain. After around 6 months of having foster children my husband said that we just couldn’t continue because of the pain I was feeling. 

We were invited to a foster parent meeting to hear a psychologist speak on the importance of taking care of yourself when caring for others. I had no idea the gift that evening would be for me. He asked how many of us felt helpless to heal the wounds of these foster children, and my hand shot up! He asked me what was going on and I told him that I didn’t know how to help them.

He smiled and simply said, “that’s not your job… Your job is to keep them from getting any worse.” I could do that!

About the Author

Leading people into an authentic, life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ.

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