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|A PLACE FOR CHILDREN
By Marshall McClung
When David and Sharon Crowe were married in 1969, they probably had no idea that they would be operating a home for children in their own home. It is difficult to decide what one should call their home. Although they long ago named their home Crowe's Nest, is it a children's home, a foster home, or what? Adding to the difficulty as to what to call it is the fact that some of the children are their natural children, some are adopted, and some are foster children. That being the case then, it seems better to say that it is a place for children, some of whom had no place. It is readily evident that Sharon and David have opened their home and their hearts to children.
David and Sharon at first thought that they were unable to have children and set about adopting a child. When this did not readily work out, they applied for a foster home license. Along about this time, they found that they could have children as their first child Kris came along, followed shortly by their first foster children.
David and Sharon have now been keeping foster children for over twenty years, and have kept a total of twenty-six different children at different times. They have four natural children, and have adopted six others. There is a total of seven children in their home at present. Their home is considered to be the only foster home in the state of North Carolina to be allowed to have as many as nine children in the home at one time, with a special exemption to exceed that limit by one if necessary.
A home operated for such purposes requires some special modifications. Since the original house was built, there have been additions. A dining room was added, there are seven bedrooms for a total of sixteen rooms. Modifications such as placing some appliances at a raised level does away with a lot of stooping and bending. All the children that are old enough help with the household chores. At least eight loads or more of clothing are washed and dried daily. When asked how long it takes to clean a sixteen room house with several children of various ages, Sharon says "You don't ever get through." The house appears surprisingly clean and orderly though, given the circumstances.
It is heartbreaking to hear what some of the children had been through and the treatment some of them had received before coming to live with the Crowes. One child they received had been living in a car with her mother in below freezing temperatures. The night the Crowes got this child, the temperature dropped below zero. They have received small children with diaper rash so bad that it had created bad sores and actually pitted the skin. Some of the children had not been changed regularly and had dried human waste in their clothing. Various infections, lice, and itch were not uncommon. A general procedure when a child is first received by the Crowes is a very thorough bathing and check over.
Other incidents that defy the imagination and make you wonder what the human race is capable of include cigarette burns, being set naked on a hot stove eye, and other instances of sexual and physical abuse that is enough to give you nightmares.
Another area for children that the Crowes serve as volunteers in is the Guardian ad Litem program. This is an administrative office of the courts that represents abused and neglected children in the 30th Judicial District.
Through the years, the Crowes have been contacted by some of the children they have kept. Some of the children drop by for a visit, others call, or send a card or letter.
It would seem that this operation has probably deprived the Crowes of some financial and material gains, but David and Sharon say they don't consider this, and feel that the love and care they are providing the children more than compensates for any loss of this nature that might have occurred.
I have known the Crowes most all of their lives and their children. I could not remember which were their natural children, and which were adopted. I suppose that is really the way that it should be. I could distinguish no difference they made toward the children whether it be their child by birth, by adoption, or if it was a foster child. That too is the way it should be.
It is both refreshing and rewarding after being exposed to so much violence and negative events to actually visit a place where genuine love and care exists for some children who had never experienced love before. They find that there is "a place for children."
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