Selma honors National Foster Care Month

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Mildred Parker proudly showed off her 5-year-old’s report card.

Parker, or “granny” as her children lovingly call her, has many reasons to be proud.

Since 1992, she has been the foster mother to nine children.

“I always loved children,” Parker said. “I was an insurance agent, and one of my policy holders was dying of cancer. I went to her house and she asked me to do a favor for her.”

Parker thought that the woman was going to ask her to cook for her, or run an errand. Instead, she asked her to raise her four great-grandchildren

“She said, ‘will you take these children and raise them for me?'” Parker said. “I told her that I would.”

The next month, the woman died, and Parker began the process of getting the two boys and two girls – ages one, two, four, and seven.

“I went through DHR – I had to be licensed, finger printed and get a background check,” Parker said. ” I got them on the 27th of January in 1992.”

“After I got those, the mother of the girls had three more,” she said with a smile. “I got them from the hospital. Four of the girls are still with me.”

“I’ve been trying to adopt them since 1994,” Parker said. “I’ve been doing paper work and everything, but social workers leave or get replaced. We were supposed to go to court, but the lawyer was in a serious accident and was paralyzed. So, we are trying again in August.”

Wednesday, in recognition of National Foster Care Month and the foster parents in Dallas County, Mayor James Perkins Jr. signed a proclamation declaring May as Foster Care Month for the City of Selma.

“Some of you may know my position about this program,” said Perkins. “My grandmother was a foster parent for years. Many of the children she brought into the home became my uncles, cousins, and brothers.”

“We want to make the public aware of foster homes and the need for foster homes in Dallas County,” said Helen Neighbors. “Right now, we have 30 licensed, regular foster homes in Dallas County and 75 children in foster care. Of course, that number varies from time to time.”

Neighbors knows firsthand the need for foster homes in this area. She serves as the liaison between foster homes in Dallas County and the Department of Human Resources.

“We have a class – Group Preparation and Selection, that prepares prospective foster parents to be foster parents”, Neighbors said. We have classes in the spring and the fall. If someone is interested in becoming a foster parent, they can call me at (334) 874-1416 and I can put their name on the list for classes in the fall.”

“It’s such a joy for me to be able to take care of these children,” Parker said. “It’s been rewarding. I’m going to do it until the baby is grown, and she’s five.”