Fostering love

By Marlena Hartz: Freedom Newspapers

This afternoon, the Easley house is quiet.

The only distractions are the bouncing logo on the computer screen, and the Easleys’ dog, who scratches on the door to be let in from the cold.

As veteran foster parents with three (now grown) children of their own, Charles and Anna Easley aren’t accustomed to such peace.

“I’ve always taken care of kids,” said Anna Easley, 51.

At one time, the couple cared for 12 children, they said.

Over a span of 22 years, close to 100 foster children have been sheltered in their south Clovis home, according to the Curry County Children Youth and Families Department.

The Easleys retired from foster care in late January.

Foster care kind of found the couple, they said.

Anna Easley began day care for foster children after being introduced to foster parenting by a neighbor. She said CYFD officials urged her to become a foster parent because she had a way with children and handled pressure well.

Most of the children who passed through their home were abused or neglected. Some came to the Easley house because of an emergency, such as a car accident where a parent was killed, she said. They hailed from all over the state, but mostly came from Roosevelt and Curry counties.

“It (was) very emotional,” Anna Easley said.

“It’s harder sometimes on the little kids,” added her husband, 57. “They are scared and don’t know why they aren’t home with their mom and dad.”

Many times, a call from CYFD seeking placement for a child wrenched the couple from bed late at night or early in the morning. Some foster children stole from them. Some brought drugs into their home.

But they continued, Anna Easley puts it matter-of-factly, “to help the kids.”

Toward the end of their foster care, they sheltered mostly teenage boys, they said.
“No one else wanted to do it,” explained Charles Easley.

After more than two decades of helping other people, the Easleys are ready to relax — to “spend more time at the lake (in Quay County),” he said.

“It’s nice to know I don’t have to worry about cooking (for someone else) when I get home from work,” he joked.

Anna Easley continues to teach older foster children living skills — how to balance checkbooks, how to apply for jobs — through the CYFD Semi Independent Living Program.

The foster couple will be missed, Marsha Buesgens, Curry County CYFD Regional Placement Supervisor, wrote in a letter to the Clovis News Journal.

But, wrote Buesgens, they “will be remembered by many children as the family that was there when they needed someone, who was their voice when they didn’t have the words, and was the family that taught them what a real family is all about.”