California Woman Has Fostered More Than 80 Infants Over The Past 34 Years: ‘This Is What God’s Handed Me A Gift To Do’

A woman in Hayward, California, has fostered more than 80 babies over the years through foster care.

woman-fosters-infants-linda-owens

Linda Owens has cared for 81 infants in 34 years as a resource parent. “It’s a challenging job, but very rewarding,” she says.

The 78-year-old retired grocery department manager has fostered the babies as a single parent. “This is what God’s handed me a gift to do,” said Owens, who has loved taking care of babies since childhood.

She remembers every one of her 81 foster children. Lately, Linda Owens took care of a 7-week-old baby girl after she left the hospital as a newborn. The baby is the 81st infant she brought into her home.

She has stocks of baby gear and clothes some are bought with her own money. Many of the newborns came to her exposed to drugs in the womb and as a result, have developmental delays. They don’t sleep through the night.

Mia Buckner-Preston is the Placement Division Director of the Alameda County Department of Children & Family Services, which places children in foster homes.

“Her experience, the care, the love she provides to the babies, it’s immeasurable,” said Buckner-Preston. She is among the county’s 500 resource parents and also one of the longest-serving. “She’s in a category almost all by herself,” said Buckner-Preston.

Pediatrician Mika Hiramatsu says her vast experience taking care of babies comes handy. “She’s always been very optimistic, always determined to give these babies the best possible start in their lives,” said Dr. Hiramatsu.

The parents of the babies also gain from her experience. Erica adopted a baby girl Owens fostered 12 years ago and gave her good advice about the baby. “She’s in her crib. Leave her alone. I know you want to play with her but if you wake her up, you’ll start interrupting her sleep,” said Erica.

Today, Erica and her daughter still visit with Linda and share the tween’s milestones. “She’s turned out beautiful,” Owens smiled. “It makes you feel good that you fulfilled your job.”

Once her job is done and the time comes for her to hand the babies to their birth or adoptive families, it can be heartbreaking. She remembers them all. The oldest is now 37. She’s also cared for three sets of twins.

The baby that she is presently cradling in her arms who will soon leave, Owens said, “I can give her a kiss on the forehead and wish her the best, and say, ‘I love you.’”

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D.T.

This is truly a dedication and such an amazing thing to do, at the same time being challenging! It really defines her personality, her love for children and for the Lord.
If everyone would help only one child, the world would be different and the suffering could decrease, increasing love and goodness.
Respect for your work and congratulations!

Lynda DeKold

My son sent me the article about Ms Owens. I too am a 78 yo Medical Foster Mom if 38 years, currently have my 74th foster baby.
I would love to talk or email with Ms Owens, if she would be willing interested.
One last thing for a grin…my name is Lynda too!

A Woodham

My late mom fostered 120 infants in the 10 years from early 1960s to early 1970s that she volunteered for the Children’s Home Society in Jacksonville, Florida.
Mostly crib babies but she kept a small number for 1-2 years.
Anyone who give their love and suffers the separation lake these ladies do deserves a medal.

Verse of the Day

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. — Proverbs 31:30 (NIV)

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