Not all 18 at once; Jorge and Licia are foster parents.
Jorge and Licia live in Barrio Smata in Cordoba, Argentina. They married more than 10 years ago, and have had four children together. One of them, a girl, died young.
After their first baby was born, then a second, and a third, they decided to welcome other children into their home who, for various circumstances, were in state custody and in need of a temporary home.
That’s how they became foster parents.
The blessing of caring for foster children
“We have three children here and one in heaven,” Licia told the Colombian news show Arriba Córdoba. “Our children were small when we started. The first baby we took in was one year old, and we haven’t stopped since then, one after another.”
They talk about their experience as foster parents without any self-importance. They’re a normal family, who value more the love they can give those little children more than material luxury .
They’ve been foster parents for 10 years, and that means (and they recognize it with a sense of humor) that they haven’t stopped changing diapers and getting up at midnight to take care of the youngest child in the house, whose face changes every few months.
The joy of seeing the children respond to love
Jorge and Licia, who are currently taking care of a 5-month-old baby, recognize that at first it was hard for them to detach themselves from a baby they’d fostered when their time with them ran out. Little by little, they learned to distinguish and adjust to their role in the lives of those little people. Nonetheless, they keep track of where each of those children is now, and how their life has gone. Licia says, “What stays with us is the joy of seeing that they have gone from suffering to love, and they leave us full.”
The warmth of home until the court make a decision
Some babies go back to their biological families after a certain period of time; others are placed for adoption. The Argentine justice system takes charge of each of them, and Licia and Jorge, in the meantime, offer them the warmth of home. Their biological children are growing up seeing the generosity of their parents, and are helping out more and more with the daily needs and duties of a family which has had more than 20 people so far, although most of them have only been there temporarily.
Licia and Jorge shared their testimony to encourage other families to open their doors and their hearts as foster parents to children in need. Not every couple is called to foster, but all of us, married or single, are called to look at the needs of those around us and do what we can to help. We are one body and one family in Christ, so although our primary duty is to our own family, we cannot ignore the suffering of the others who dwell on Earth, the “common home” of the human family.