Couple Who Can’t Say ‘No’ Has Fostered Over 630 Kids

Couple Who Can’t Say ‘No’ Has Fostered Over 630 Kids

For almost 40 years, one California couple has opened their hearts and home to more than 630 foster children and has no plans of stopping even after all these years.

Raelene MacDowell and her husband, Ted, were married in 1964 and had three children in the years after. Despite having their hands full, they both agreed that they wanted to become foster parents to children in need. “We decided that taking care of other people’s babies while they get themselves help or treatment is what we wanted to do,” MacDowell said.

The couple took in their first foster child in 1978 and ended up taking in hundreds of children, some of which stayed in their care for days while others stayed for years, since they couldn’t bear to turn a child away. “Somebody has to make a difference to the kids. Grown-ups make their own messes and they need to clean them up, but kids don’t have anyone to do that for them,” MacDowell said. “I feel that every child I come in contact with, I want that child to understand what it means to be cherished; not just cared for, diapered, fed, loved, but actually cherished.”

“That’s my mantra. I think every child in the world deserves the right to be cherished by at least one person. We endeavor to do that and make sure that they feel like they’re the most important person in our lives at that moment.” The couple ended up adopted seven of those foster children, but had to stop fostering children when MacDowell got a job in 1999 with Social Services to mentor foster parents and others who want to adopt.

Recently, however, the mother of ten, grandmother of 28, and great-grandmother of five retired from the position, and just a week later they welcomed a new baby into their home. “She is a rather unique and amazing woman. As a foster parent, she really never turned away a kid,” said Dianna Wagner, the director of Shasta County’s children’s services agency. “That wasn’t our plan,” MacDowell said. “But it just fell in our lap. And how do I say, no?”

“She wears her heart on her sleeve and she always finds the positive in any situation,” Wagner said. “She has the ability to see the best in people, which I think why, prior to us, she was able to take children into her home to care for them as long as they needed that place with her.

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[Featured image: The MacDowell Family]