Making a Difference: Local foster parents say ‘yes’ to helping kids in need
February 24, 2017
Craig — A call comes in the middle of the night that a child needs a place to sleep for the night. Or maybe the child needs a place to sleep for a year.
Saying yes invites a host of unknowns into the home, but it also means helping a child in their moment of greatest need, and saying yes is exactly what Craig residents April and Earl Camp have been doing for the past 18 years.
"It's the wildest roller coaster ride you'll ever go on," Earl said of his experience as a foster parent.
"But to us, it feels like it's worth any bit of heartache you have to deal with," April added.
Moffat County has been hurting to find enough foster parents in the past couple years — the tally has recently risen to seven sets of parents or families, easing the urgent need a bit — but Moffat County Department of Social Services has long been able to count on the Camps.
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"When they've got space to take into a kiddo, they will consider any age, any situation, or any special needs that kiddo might have. They really are in this to help kids in any way they can," said DSS Foster Care Coordinator Lauren Rising.
The Camps found their way into foster parenting when their youngest son, EJ was born with a rare syndrome that led to him spending months in the neonatal intensive care unit. There, they learned of countless children who were unwanted by their parents because of deformities and disease.
"We just started looking into what we could do to help and found that it wasn't just special needs kids that needed help, it was older children too," April said.
Over the years, they've taken in everyone from six teenage boys at one time to, most recently, a 2-year-old who was successfully reunited with his parents.
"When you get to see your kids go back home, it just makes everything all worth it," April said. "I miss him so much, but it's the best feeling to see him go home where he belongs."
The Camps have endured some difficult moments but also tell of the satisfaction of running into grown children from time to time that they fostered more than a decade ago.
"We want these kids to grow up and be a proud part of society, every kid," Earl said. "We hope we can influence them to do something with their life and to have some self worth."
They recently welcomed a new daughter into their home, 8-year-old Lucy, whom they adopted in December after caring for her for three years. Their son, EJ, is now 21, but the Camps show no signs of slowing down.
"I don't think they've ever said no to me to take in a kid," Rising said. "God bless them, their hearts are in the right place."