Her hard work over the last five decades, the now 75-year-old woman was recently awarded a Resolution of Gratitude by her local administration.
Linda was first introduced to her very good friend fostering.
“My best friend was doing foster care for teenage girls and I thought, ‘Well, that would be nice to do the same,’ but I wanted little kids,” said Linda. “So, I talked to the Department of Human Services and agreed to take kids with medical needs.”
They kept fostering children even though Linda and her husband Bob moved from Oxford, Iowa to Tiffin.
Linda fell deeply in love with caring for foster kids. In reality, she says she would "love [her foster kids] just like [her] own, perhaps more than [she] ought."
Although Linda found it difficult to let each foster child go when it came time to say goodbye, she knew that continuing to be a foster parent for other kids out there was her mission in life.
“I cried when the kids would leave my home, no matter how long they had been there. It was so hard for me to say goodbye to them. I always questioned, ‘Why do I keep doing this?’ because it was never easy to say goodbye to a child. But I kept doing it because I had so much love to give to these children in need.”
So, Linda and her husband continued to foster children, with some suffering significant medical problems and other special needs. They went from fostering thousands of kids over the years until the number finally reached the hundreds.
In fact, "in the middle of the night, the Department of Human Services would call on Linda to take a child, and she would meet anywhere to get a child." The foster mom would never refuse to take a child, regardless of their health, gender, or age.
And although she always had children in her household, Linda made sure there was never scarcity of resources to raise these young, needy kids.
According to Tonya Stratton, a foster child's daughter Linda cared for, "Grama Linda, now is your time to relax, but first you have to know the concept of that and then know to sit without rocking, learn to enjoy the quietness, no more piles and piles of laundry to sort, groceries to buy, diapers to change."
“It’s your time now to rest, go through your memories, put your feet up or take a nap and try to understand how incredibly worthy you are to do whatever the hell you want.” she continued.
While Linda is no longer fostering children due to the state of her health as of October 2019, she has encouraged four of her biological children and three of her grandchildren to start fostering too. In addition, she decided to adopt three of her children.