After nearly 30 years as foster parents, Patsy and Earnest Squire have made it their mission to offer family structure to children and teens who are in dire need. And they have experienced countless memories and a lot of laughs along the way.
The Squires thought it would just be the two of them enjoying their retirement, but every time they got that call to foster, they could not say no. With Patsy’s background in education and Earnest’s in the military, they believe their nurturing spirit helps build the children’s self-esteem, and they always like to add some humor.
“A lot of kids have never been fishing; that’s the first thing I like to do is take ‘em fishing. That gives us a lot of one-on-one time,” says Earnest.
Patsy adds how the children typically gravitate toward her husband. “I’m the mother figure. I’m the nagger,” she says with a smile. “But there is laughter, a lot of laughter.”
“Really, the children give you life – birthday celebrations, taking them to church, teaching and training – they keep us young,” Patsy adds.
They also understand how important it is to be sensitive to the child’s past depending on the level of trauma experienced or if they are in contact with their birth parents.
“I don’t care what we know about the parents, we don’t ever say anything negative, because that’s the child’s parent. Most of the time they know they’ve made bad decisions but deep down, they still have that love for their parents,” Patsy said.
The most rewarding thing over the years is for them to see young teens make a transformation while in their care and for years beyond, and “when a child comes back and is telling you they enjoyed living with you.”