WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — It’s been 50 years of marriage for Chester and Susan David and their love is also shown in another number.
“We’ve had 45 people live with us,” Chester said.
Mostly foreign exchange or college students, now for the first time, a teenage foster child.
“If you are blessed then bless someone else,” Susan said.
Introducing her at church, they quickly learned this would be different.
“They would put out there hand and introduce themselves and she would dart behind and hide behind Susan. She had no confidence,” Chester said.
A 10-week course at Cossnore School and Children’s Home prepared them for caring for kids who have experienced trauma.
“What to expect, what to recognize as triggers,” Susan said.
It was three hours per session.
“It is a commitment but invariably, people that go through it say (it’s valuable),” said Kelly Riley, who serves as the assistant director of foster care licensing.
“That was incredible to be involved with other families who were working towards this and who wanted to make a difference with kids,” Chester said.
It’s been a year, now their daughter has blossomed socially. She has a job as a host at a ice cream parlor. Susan explains their next goal for her.
“She will become the first person in her family to get a high school diploma,” she said.
A national study shows around half of foster care children don’t graduate high school by 18.
They’ve realized the voids and are filling them daily.
“Needing to be nurtured and loved and that’s what you do,” Chester said.
Susan has stepped out of her comfort zone.
“I now own a pair of Crocs with flowers on them that I never would’ve bought and she and I bought matching Nike shoes,” Susan said.
Teenagers or children with disabilities may be the toughest to find foster parents for, but clearly it was a perfect match for the Davids.
“We wore them to church together and were able to show them off. And that is fun that we would not have if it were just the two of us at home. We’re growing younger,” Susan said laughing.