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dozen children, I would have looked at the person with a great deal of skepticism along with some amusement. There are those who say that being a foster parent is the hardest thing you could ever do. Indeed, it is not only hard work, it is heart work. Foster parenting is a job that has changed my life in so many ways, as I have opened my house, life and heart to children in need. Indeed, there are those times where I would often struggle with fostering, as well as struggle with my own self. Often times, I would be disappointed in my own foster parenting skills, as well as my habit of judging the birth parents. Yet, both my wife Kelly and I felt called to take care of these children, so many children in need.


If


When I first met Kelly, she was simply Kelly from Australia, one of 165 other people from 24 different countries around the world, traveling and performing in the international super group Up With People. We had cast


34 F O S T E R I N G F A M I L I E S T O D A Y for our family


I was told when I was younger that I would one day become a foster parent to more than four


During our year, Kelly and I, along with our fellow performers, performed in front of kings and queens, world dignitaries, movie stars, professional athletes and entertainers from all parts of the globe. We visited the recently fallen Berlin Wall, each taking a hammer and chisel to it, and even performed on Good Morning America and many other television shows around the world. The performer in me loved the opportunity to sing and dance on stage night


members from East Germany and the Soviet Union. We had two members who were deaf, and one in a wheel chair. Up With People, a global organization that toured throughout the world over a course of a year, had the goal of bridging cultural barriers with global understanding through service and music. Throughout that year of 1990, we toured across the United States, Japan, Bermuda and numerous European countries, all the while helping out with community service, working alongside people from all parts of the world, and performing in an uplifting and inspirational two-hour song and dance show, with songs from across the globe.


after night, in country after country, while the concerned global citizen in me was introduced to ideas, beliefs and customs from across the globe. It was a sensational year, a year in which I gained a better appreciation of the world around me, the appreciation of cultural differences and traditions, all while forming close friendships with people from every corner of the globe. It was a year of service, as we helped build houses, feed homeless, work with those who were disabled, and served those who were in need. Unquestionably, it helped prepare me to become a foster parent, as Kelly and I opened our home to care for children who suffer. Indeed, my wife and I have taken those


I JANUAR Y/FEBRUAR Y 2016 I W W W .FOSTERINGF AMILIESTODA Y .COM


feature BY JOHN DeGARMO, ED.D.


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