At AGAPE, we are blessed with amazing foster parents who selflessly dedicate themselves to the well-being and best interest of the children placed in their homes. One of AGAPE’s longest-tenured foster parents is Audrey Neumann.
Audrey first became a foster parent 28 years ago after attending one of AGAPE’s Informational Meetings during Bible class at Smyrna Church of Christ. She had always been interested in fostering, and as the oldest of eight siblings, you could say she’s a nurturer at heart. Audrey took the leap of faith and began welcoming children into her home in 1994.
Since then, Audrey has fostered 70 children. She primarily cares for newborns and children under the age of 4 because when she first started fostering, she had her own three children in school.
“These kids won’t remember me, but they don’t need to,” Audrey says. “They just need to know ‘Someone took care of me, I was fed, I was warm, and I was loved.’”
In 2005, Audrey took a break from fostering when her 8-week-old grandson passed, and her daughter and granddaughters moved in with her. Audrey was later granted custody of her two granddaughters, who she still cares for today. The girls are now 18 and 16 years old.
Audrey and her husband, David, have now been fostering for the past six years.
Audrey and David have cared for some of AGAPE’s youngest foster placements. While some of these children are able to return to family, many of these infants are adopted. Her favorite part is seeing the look on the adoptive parents’ faces—who often can’t have children of their own—the first time they get to hold their baby.
“I’m not their birth mom, but I’m their first mama. Fostering is not something we do for ourselves; it’s for the child we’re serving and God. He’ll give us what we need to do it every time.”
Audrey and David’s heart for fostering is evident in all they do. They believe they’ve been equipped by God and called to serve in this way, and that failing to do so would be irresponsible.
The Neumanns know firsthand that foster care isn’t easy, but they say the rewarding moments are always worth the difficulties. “Sometimes, the court makes decisions for the child that you don’t agree with, and the only thing you can do is pray for the child. Everything takes time, and we know that God’s timing is perfect.”
For those who are considering becoming foster parents, Audrey and David would say, “Do it. You won’t know until you try, and it could be exactly where God plans to use you for His glory. But even if you’re not able be a foster parent, everyone can do something to support foster care. This could look like sponsoring a child at Christmas or back-to-school, making a monthly donation to AGAPE, providing foster families with meals, or supporting them through prayer—every act of kindness toward a foster family makes a difference.”
Audrey and David are an inspiration to their fellow AGAPE foster parents and all those who are blessed to know them. May we each find our place to serve the vulnerable, so that like Audrey and David, we too can say, “I was just a small part of their story, but I was the part that God needed me to be.”
To learn more about becoming a foster parent, click here. To support current needs for our foster families, click here.