Fostering Better Lives: Part Three

By KBJR News 1

April 28, 2011 Updated Apr 30, 2011 at 4:12 PM CDT

Carlton Co., MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - More often than not, there's a stigma associated with kids living in foster homes.
But one Northland foster family says it's important for everyone to understand it's not the child's fault, it's the environment from which they came.

Two boys play video games together inside a home on the Fond Du Lac Reservation. They aren't brothers, but they share a common bond. Both come from broken homes and now live under the same roof.

"We consider them part of our family, with no separation," said Don Holt, a foster parent.

At 71. Holt is a foster dad. His wife, Mary is a foster mom. They've opened their doors and hearts to Native American children born into difficult situations.

"It's not the kids that are at fault," said Holt. "They're not in placement because of them. They're in placement because it wasn't a safe environment or there was alcohol abuse or sexual abuse."

The goal isn't to totally remove children from their families. Don Holt says it's important for the biological family to say involved.

"The native sector is real, sympathetic to children and the family. Where they don't terminate, there is a suspension of parental rights."

Having their children in a safe environment gives troubled parents a chance to work on their demons.

"The sad thing is that the families that they come from are having a hard time, keeping, on track of what they're supposed to do, because if they were going to do what they're supposed to, these kids would be reunited much quicker."

The Holts currently foster three children, two of whom have lived with them for five years.

Don admits, it's not easy.

"One of the hardest things is to not being able to reach their wounds, or try to heal their wounds, it's hard."

The Holts say it takes a lot of unconditional love to raise foster children.

"If you don't have the patience and an understanding of where they come from, it won't work."

But, the reward is worth it, not only for the foster parents, but for the kids as well.

Written for the web by Kevin Jacobsen