Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Ron and Lucretia Morey have been foster parents for 28 years

  • Ron and Lucretia Morey, Pittsburg, aren’t sure how many children have lived under their roof, eaten at their table and even called them Mom and Dad.

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  • Ron and Lucretia Morey, Pittsburg, aren’t sure how many children have lived under their roof, eaten at their table and even called them Mom and Dad.
    They have been foster parents for about 28 years.
    Morey estimates he and his wife have cared for about 128 youngsters, and said that really isn’t very many compared with other foster parents.
    “I met one woman who’d had 400 kids, and she’d only been doing it for two years,” he said. “We kind of keep them a while.”
    “We’ve adopted four, and have permanent custody of one,” Mrs. Morey added. “They range in age from 11 to 40, and they’re all girls.”
    She holds a master’s degree in education, and has been a teacher and worked at Small World Nursery and the Family Resource Center. However, she said that college degrees and professional experience aren’t really necessary to become a foster parent.
    “It’s not a big deal for me, and the kids could care less,” Mrs. Morey said. “They care about the practical things. Is there food on the table? Can I get that spot out of their clothes?”
    “The biggest thing with foster kids is somebody who cares, and they can figure out who really cares,” her husband said. “You don’t have to solve their problems for them.”
    TFI Family Services Inc., reintegration, foster care and adoption contractor for SRS Region One and Region Three in Kansas, provides in-home behavioral health services for youngsters in foster care. Additional services are available for youngsters with special needs and challenges.
    “We have a very good support system,” Mrs. Morey said. “It’s not like we’re the Lone Ranger sitting up on a hill trying to do it all by ourselves.”
    “It also doesn’t hurt to have a little bit of faith,” Morey said.
    The couple became involved with foster care when Mrs. Morey decided to quit teaching and stay home. A family friend suggested that they become foster parents, they applied and soon found themselves caring for two little boys.
    “We’re licensed to care for children from birth to 18, but right now we mostly have teenagers,” Mrs. Morey said.
    Her husband noted that taking care of a baby tends to be less complicated than caring for a teenager, who may present some challenges.
    “But the rewards are better than the challenges,” Morey said.
    “We are able to give them a secure place, a safe place,” Mrs. Morey said. “And a lot of their behaviors are really normal kid stuff that you don’t need to get too worked up about.”
    They are licensed to have four children at a time.
    “Once we got four kids in one night,” Morey said.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I went to pick up two, and they drove in the other two,” Mrs. Morey said. “Once the Cherokee sheriff brought us children at 2 a.m.”
    Theoretically, the couple could have declined to take them. However, in their hearts, they were unable to turn away children who had been removed from their homes in the middle of the night because of an emergency situation and were probably frightened and confused.
    The Moreys encourage their foster children to live as normal and happy a life as possible.
    “We encourage them to take part in sports, school activities and church,” Mrs. Morey said. “Sometimes they don’t want to make friends because they’re afraid they’ll just be moved.”
    She and her husband attend the children’s activities.
    “You have to give the child time every day,” Morey said.
    “A lot of them have been in elementary band, so I go to elementary band concerts and I try to get the birth parents to attend with me,” Mrs. Morey said. “We work with the birth parents as much as they will allow us to, because we are not trying to take their children away from them.”
    At times their foster children leave, not to return to their original homes but to be adopted.
    “Then we’ll visit with the adoptive parents, all go have dinner together, and do what we can so it will be easier for the children to leave our house and go to their new home and family,” Mrs. Morey said.
    For their efforts, they were recognized as Foster Parents of the Year in 1995. That was a nice honor, but not the one that’s most important to them.
    “Making a difference in a child’s life is the benefit,” Mrs. Morey said.
    Many of their former foster children remain in touch with them, and the Moreys take joy in how well their lives are going.
    “One child is a nurse now, one is serving in the Army Reserve, several have gone to college, and the one we have guardianship of is studying to work with special needs children,” Mrs. Morey said. “One girl now has four children of her own and she’s doing very well with them. She used to call me Mom, but now she calls me Grandma.”
    She expects to receive more calls about children removed from their homes who need a safe place to stay for a while.
    “As long as I’m able to do this, we’ll be foster parents,” Mrs. Morey said.

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