Over the past few weeks we've been looking into the shortage and importance of foster homes in Gregg County. Most of the time, foster homes serve as a bridge between a child and their new family. But sometimes, they're a bridge to reuniting that child with their biological family. In this Gift of Love report, we have a rare look at one of those cases.
Andrew Green savors every moment with his children, that's because he knows what it's like to have them taken away. "It was tough," he says with a solemn face. Earlier this year, his children were removed by Child Protective Services. Because he had been in the hospital, they were not living with him at the time. Andrew explains, "People go through changes in their life and it's not the children's fault. It's not their fault and I think there needs to be people there to support those children until their parents get their life under control and then the children's life is going to be better."
With no foster homes available in Gregg County, his children moved between three foster homes outside the county, ending up in Jacksonville. It took them away from all familiar surroundings, causing more hardship on their young lives. The extra travel time meant Andrew couldn't easily see his children. He had to leave work early once a week. "I would do anything no matter where they were. I was going to see my children," says Andrew.
For about eight months, Andrew traveled back and forth visiting his children. Leaving them got harder each time. "Things happen for a reason and what happened changed my life." Andrew goes on to say, "I used to drink. I don't drink anymore. That was my biggest problem."
As the weeks got longer for Andrew, he relied on his faith to get him through. Then, about a month ago, the children were allowed, temporarily, to go home. "It was an answer to a big prayer. Whatever it took to get those two boys home, I was going to do it and I'm going to keep doing it to keep them," says Andrew.
CPS will continue to monitor Andrew in the coming weeks. "I get up early in the morning and I get them ready and take them to daycare and then I go to work. They just want to make sure that I can be the parent they deserve and I'm doing all of that," said Andrew.
Andrew is now a single parent, and he knows there will be challenges raising one and two year old boys. "They are a handful but I can handle it and I'm going to handle it. They mean the world to me. Without them, I'd be an empty person.."
Andrew is happy to have his children back, and grateful to the foster families who took care of them in the mean time. "I'd like to thank the foster parents who had my children. They were beautiful to my children They're the best."
Andrew Green continues working hard to regain permanent custody of his children. CPS will monitor the situation for several weeks to determine when, and if, that will actually happen.
If you'd like more information on the Fostering Partners Project in Gregg County, or becoming a foster parent anywhere in East Texas, call our Gift of Love hotline at 1-888-kids-275.
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