Eric and Marla Brock, who live outside of Tipp City in Bethel Twp., have adopted seven out of the 15 children they had fostered. “All of our kids that we adopted were sibling groups,” said Eric. There are three sets of siblings.
The Brocks’ have a 13-year history in fostering/adoption with Montgomery County’s Children Services Division and four years of fostering in Greene County.
Many older children need homes. “We adopted our last daughter at 17½, and she came to us at 14,” said Marla. “We are beyond blessed by her heart and who she is. She is also getting ready to start college in the fall. I want people to realize it’s not always about getting an infant, all children need a home. I would encourage families to open their lives and homes to help a child in need. It is an amazing experience. It may come with challenges, but the rewards far outweigh the challenges.”
They began to foster when Marla was a teacher at Dayton Christian schools (Miami Twp.). She was friends with a teacher who adopted three boys through the foster care system.
“Their positive experience made us want to look into becoming foster parents,” said Eric. Marla had kidney issues and was told not to carry a child and they both wanted children.
The Brocks’ have attended Living Word Church in Vandalia for about 12 years and through their church they have worked to recruit other foster families. They have approached three couples and one single mom about fostering/adoption. Three of them have since adopted.
Living Word Church has helped Children’s Services to bring awareness for the need of foster/adoptive parents.
”I think people just need to realize that they probably have more to offer a foster/adoptive child than they realize,” said Eric. “Kids really aren’t looking for ‘superparents,’ just someone who can demonstrate stability with actions and feelings. So many families in crisis are in crisis because of a lack of stability in relationships, economic stability and typical day to day function.
“We currently do not have foster kids. We may be nearing the end of our career as foster parents but keep the option open just in case.”
Eric has a garage door business called “Door One” and they also have a dog boarding kennel.
“We have a very active and full family life,” Marla said. “We have learned to be flexible, balancing sports, piano lessons, singing lessons, running two businesses and I am currently homeschooling my children.”
Kevin Lavoie, communications coordinator of Job & Family Services, Dayton, said Montgomery County has 650-plus children in foster care. “There is an ongoing need for foster parents. Right now we are trying to recruit 30 new foster families.
“Many people will discount the idea because they are not a perfect family or you can’t eat off the floor in their house. The fact is we need people to open their hearts and their homes, and we do not need “perfect.” We provide training for foster, adoption or combined licensure, and we provide ongoing support for our families.”
For more information about fostering/adopting through Montgomery County Children Services, call 937-224-KIDS (5437). Next meeting: Saturday, Aug. 27; 9-10:30 a.m. at Haines Children’s Center, 3304 N. Main St., in Dayton.