HANAHAN—Marty and Jim Rebuck are firm believers in the expressions “You’re never too old” and “You never know where life will take you.”
The couple, who are 74 and 80, respectively, have spent the past 18 years as foster parents and recently decided to adopt one particular little girl who claimed their hearts.
Although they have adult children of their own, the couple said they were called to serve as foster parents in their golden years. Now, as they continue to live out their faith, they are adopting 6-year-old D’Auri, who has enriched their lives in ways they never thought possible.
The Rebucks met D’Auri as a newborn when they fostered her until she was about 18 months old.
“At that time, she went back to live with her mother, but that didn’t work out, so the mother gave her back to us after about a year,” Mrs. Rebuck said. “We have had her ever since.”
Now a kindergartner at Divine Redeemer School, D’Auri is flourishing.
“She reads with me and we play ‘Little House on the Prairie,’” Mrs. Rebuck said.
She believes D’Auri is mature for her age because of what she has been through already in her young life. “She is knowledgeable about what foster care is and [when] we will bring other babies into the home she is insightful and great with them.”
As active pro-life advocates, the Rebucks said that more help is needed for babies and the mothers who choose life.
“These kids deserve to have a good life,” she said. “If we are pro-life we need to think about what will happen to the baby once born.”
Statistics from the S.C. Department of Social Services show that as of Nov. 11, 4,629 children are in care outside of their parents. Over 3,300 were in foster care, 867 in group homes, 381 in care with relatives and 27 were marked “other.”
Due to the amount of children in group homes, foster families are in dire need. Of the 4,629 children living away from their parents, 1,289 of them have lived that way for over two years.
Mrs. Rebuck said their faith plays a major role, noting that D’Auri will soon be baptized. She is happy to be in Catholic school and loves going to church with them.
The Rebucks know their age is a factor in raising D’Auri, and their four adult children have stepped up to help. Mrs. Rebuck said their son, who has a 2-year-old child of his own, agreed to raise D’Auri if needed.
Although it is unusual for seniors to become foster parents, Mrs. Rebuck said they can be some of the best candidates as they have more time and more space in the home since their other children are grown.
Caitlin Rebuck, 28, said she doesn’t know any different than being raised with foster children, since her parents first opened their home when she was in the fifth grade.
“I was the youngest and I used to complain that I didn’t have a younger brother or sister,” she said. “Well, I got over 30 of them!”
Caitlin said children would stay for months or only a couple of weeks, but each one gave their family great joy.
“My mom has a photo album with a gallery of pictures of them all,” she said. “They have all been a blessing for me.”
As for accepting D’Auri as her sister, Caitlin said that was easy.
“D’Auri was already my sister before the adoption process started. She called me ‘sissy’ and my parents ‘mom and dad.’ She is a remarkable little girl,” Caitlin said.
This past summer, Mrs. Rebuck spoke at the National Right to Life Convention and encouraged others to make the pro-life choice of becoming foster parents.
By Theresa Stratford/Special to The Catholic Miscellany