Eight months ago, there were more than 10,000 children in state care and the state was desperate for families to step up and help. Hundreds did.
“We do hard things, because there are big jobs in our city and in our country that need to be done by people willing to do hard things,” Anna Clement said as she watched her five children play at the park across the street from her Edmond home.
She said it was a common phrase she told her children.
Clement and her husband, Pastor Chad Clement, aren’t average parents. Despite having three biological children of their own, they also took in two foster children.
“We have been blessed and any time god blesses you with more than you need then he has the intention that you can to other who need,” Anna Clement said.
The Clements are an island in a state awash in children in need. Last November, Gov. Mary Fallin launched a push to get 1,000 new foster parents enrolled in a system trying to manage more than 10,000 needy children.
This week, the state announced it had reached its goal and then some giving at last count 94 children a stable family to call their own and 1,075 new parents the opportunity to foster children, according to Department of Human Services spokeswoman Sheree Powell. She added the total numbers of families and foster children brought together had not been finalized.
Powell expected the final tally in the coming weeks.
“These are all of our children. It's all of our responsibility to take care of them,” Powell said.
An idea the Clements took to heart, not knowing they'd be getting something out of it too.
“One of the surprising things we found out was having five kids in our house, brought out a lot of good characteristics in our kids,” Chad Clement said with a laugh.
Something one can see when 8-year-old Ruby is asked about her foster sister Tatiana.
“I think of her as my sister that's been with me all my life,” she said twisting one of her blonde haired braids.
She added it was her dream to have a sister and she was thankful for the one her parents took in.
But with more than 9,900 children still waiting for a home, the need is still there, according to Powell. The Clements said they may be willing to step up again and hope more will follow in their footsteps.