TORRINGTON – It takes a strong family to open its arms and doors so that another group of individuals might flourish as one.
Torrington residents Russ and Kendal Richards first became a foster family 10 years ago – a decision that changed their lives forever.
“Somebody from our church worked at the Department of Family Services (DFS) and said there was a little girl who needed to go into a home with all girls – we had three daughters at the time,” Kendal Richards said.
Beginning with the one girl a decade ago, the Richards family has invited six foster children into their homes throughout the last 10 years. With ages ranging from infant to mid-teens, Richards said the experience was challenging, but very rewarding.
“You just really have to have a strong family base and plenty of individual strength,” she said. “It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do, because you’re not raising your kids, you’re raising someone else’s kids, and they may have someone else’s values and beliefs. You have to honor their values and beliefs, and remember (the child) is not yours and they will go back (to their family) … and you have to plan on that whether it happens or not.”