Iowa Mom Honored After Fostering 600 Kids in 50 Years

Iowa Mom Honored After Fostering 600 Kids in 50 Years

Not all heroes wear capes. Some are dressed in regular clothing but do a ton worth of good deeds that we can’t help but call them heroes. Linda Herring is a hero, a shining light amid the darkness, and an inspiration to us all. Fifty years ago, Lilian began fostering children, turning her home into a haven where every child could access food, shelter, clothing, and, more importantly, love. [1]

No matter the age, gender, or how severe their needs were, Herring never turned a child away. Whenever she was called upon by the Department of Human Services to pick up a child who needed a home, she would do so regardless of the time.

Her friend inspired her decision to foster kids, but she soon realized that was what she wanted to do, so she spoke with the department who agreed to let her take on kids with medical needs. But Herring never imagined that she would end up fostering 600 kids over the span of 50 years.

“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. So, I talked to the Department of Human Services and agreed to take kids with medical needs,” Herring told CNN. [2]

Herring as an adoptive mom

But Herring isn’t just a foster mom. She is also the mother to eight children, three of whom were foster children she and her husband, Bob, adopted. One of those children is Anthony Herring, who was officially adopted when he was three years old.

“I appreciate being adopted even more today as a parent then I did when I was a child,” Anthony Herring said. “I’m forever grateful for the life I was given. She and Dad have both taught me that family isn’t determined by blood; it’s who you have in your life to love.

Love: the ultimate inspiration 

Herring’s ultimate inspiration stems from the love she has for the children. She genuinely cared for each child she fostered and found it hard to say goodbye when it was time for them to leave. She cradles the memory of each child she’s fostered close, and her heart sings for joy whenever her foster children come back after they’ve grown up.

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,” Herring said. 

Her decision to foster children had a significant impact on her children. Now, many of them are foster parents themselves.

‘No one had to worry about a child going without clothes at Linda’s..’

Owing to her growing health concerns, Herring decided that it was time to stop fostering children, but her sacrifices didn’t go unnoticed. The Johnson County Board of Supervisors chose to honor her with a resolution of appreciation.

“The Department of Human Services would call Linda in the middle of the night to take a child, and she would meet anywhere to get a child. Linda mostly fostered young children with special medical needs and kept bins of clothes in her garage, stacked to the ceiling, labeled by size and gender. No one had to worry about a child going without clothes at Linda’s, even if they arrived with nothing but what they’re wearing,” the resolution said. 

Why you should adopt kids

Every child should be able to access the most basic needs of life. Food, shelter, clothing, water, sanitation, healthcare, education, and, more importantly, love. However, this is not the case. For several children out there, their reality is one without a stable home, love, and family. Statistics reveal that about 15 million children around the world require a stable home. [3]

In the United States, over 400,000 children are in foster care, and about 114,000 are waiting to be adopted. These figures are alarming. No one, especially a child, should be without a family. If you are looking to raise older children or you are ready to start a family as a single parent, then you should consider adopting children. Also, same-sex couples, people who are concerned about overpopulation and couples with fertility issues, can consider adopting a child. It would do a lot of good not just to the child but to society as well.


  1. Iowa Woman, 75, Fostered More Than 600 Children in 50 Years: ‘I Had So Much Love to Give.’People. Jason Duaine Hahn. January 14, 2020.
  2. Iowa woman who fostered more than 600 children says she loved them ‘like they were my own.’ CNN. Alaa Elassar. January 12, 2020.
  3. Foster Care Statistics & Resources.Voices for Children.  Accessed February 22, 2020.
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