MIDLAND COUNTY, TX (KWES) - April is Child Abuse Awareness Month and the Midland County Child Welfare Board is getting ready for their 10th annual Blue Ribbon Run. It raises money to help foster children in Midland County while also raising awareness.
The idea of fostering a child for a period of time and seeing them leave can be scary for any parent. For one Midland mother, she realized after she fostered hers, that they wouldn't be foster children anymore.
Kathy Hagler had always wanted to be a mother. Unable to have kids, she adopted Audrey 13 years ago. But the door to a bigger family eventually opened.
"I just had a sense my family wasn't complete yet," said Hagler.
Seven years ago, she got licensed to foster, and as a single foster parent, she took in six girls in and out of her home.
"That's been an incredible experience," said Hagler. "It was incredibly painful, it has been. Every single child who left, it leaves a hole in your heart. You cry, you grieve, but that ability to love them knowing you might not get to keep them and it's for their good is precious and special. I wouldn't trade it for anything."
But the last two children who would walk into Kathy's home, would change her life forever.
"For my girls, God brought them to me and it's like okay, if these are the children you want me to have, these are the ones I'll have," said Hagler.
She ended up adopting Lilly and Katy, when it seemed like there were no more roads for them to go, faith took a turn for the better.
"I told God I would take whoever He chose to send," she said. "When your case worker calls, you know they've got a child for you. People tell me that 'I couldn't do what you're doing. I could never give them up but you're not doing it for you. You're doing it for what's best for the child. These children need somebody need to love them."
A time, when fostering may have been a temporary fix on a child's life, turned to a place where smiles and love became permanent for Lilly and Katy.
"They're like a flower opening up," said Hagler. "It's really cool to see who they are and see their eyes light up when they see you and hear them say 'I love you , mom' for the first time, it's just really, really special."
There are 93 children currently in foster care in Midland County but there are more children than foster homes. For more information on becoming a foster parent, click here.
The Midland County Child Welfare Board's Blue Ribbon Run is set to take place next Saturday, Apr. 14 at Midland Memorial Stadium. All proceeds will provide important items like emergency blankets, class rings, or graduation cap and gowns for foster children. For more details, click here.