When James and Charlotte McClaugherty decided to give back to the community by becoming foster parents in 1990, they could not have imagined that their mission would span across 28 years. After spending the first six years of their marriage without children, the couple adopted the oldest two of their three children from the foster care system. Realizing the blessing that adopting from foster care had on their lives after wanting children for so long, they answered the call to open their home to children and teens in need.
Over the years, the McClaugherty family cared for 99 children and despite the immensity of that number, there always seemed to be room for one more. Charlotte speaks of a few children that stand out in her mind to this day. There was one young woman diagnosed with bipolar disorder who came to the McClaugherty’s home when she was 11 years old after cycling through several foster homes already. Despite not wanting to listen to Charlotte at first, the two eventually grew a deep bond through hard work and patience. That same young woman ended up living in the McClaughertys’ home for almost 8 years. With support from the McClaughertys, who she still calls mom and dad, she went on to graduate from high school and secondary education. Today, she is 36 years old and maintains a close relationship with the family.
They also remember the baby who came to them at just 7 weeks old with a hole in her heart. Though the baby was only in their home until she was a year old, her adoptive family continues to send the McClaughertys correspondence over the years, most recently the (now) young woman’s graduation pictures.
“We knew that our calling was to help the children get where they’re going, whether it be returning home, moving to an adoptive family, or something else. All they need is to be taken care of and loved.” — Charlotte McClaughterty
The McClaughertys feel blessed to have gotten to know the children and share their lives and love. Even after 28 years of being foster parents, the couple maintains that they really do miss it saying, “At the end of it all, you wish you had started earlier.”
Read related: Become a Foster Parent