Being a foster parent is not for the faint of heart as Lamar and Valerie Burkett know far too well. “You can’t be wishy-washy,” Valerie says. After fifteen years of being foster parents, they’re well acquainted with what its demands. Valerie explains that when it comes to being a foster parent, you have to be tough, prepared, and flexible, as well as know what you can and can’t handle. Great advice for those considering foster care from people who have made this a way of life for most of their lives.
When Lamar and Valerie couldn’t have children of their own, they decided to adopt. It wasn’t long after that, they wanted to give back to the system they had adopted from and opted to become foster parents. As a couple, they say they love children and desire to invest in them and their families. Even children they haven’t fostered have been invested in via mentoring-type relationships. They take the Bible’s commands to care for the widows and the orphans seriously and feel that the Lord has specifically put the orphans on their hearts.
The Burketts are known throughout their community for being involved in agriculture and livestock and the children are typically active participants in those activities. Currently, their family consists of 9 people with a mixture of adopted children and foster children. Their days start as early as 5:45 with some kids being homeschooled and some in public schools. Once school is out at 2:30, Valerie says there are chores to do and homework to complete before dinner, baths, and bedtime. It goes without saying, but Valerie admits that with a variety of children comes a variety of different behaviors to deal.
Lamar sums up fostering well, saying, “Love them like they’re your own, but realize they’re not your own. They have a biological family out there and eventually they’re going home. Just because you have two, three, or four years invested doesn’t mean they aren’t going home at the end.” Spoken with the heart of a true foster parent.
We are thankful for these two and all they do for the foster care community!