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    Soldier fosters hope for children in need



    Story by Sgt. Nelson Robles 

    4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division

    FORWARD OPERATING BASE PASAB, Afghanistan — Preparing for a deployment is a lengthy, time-consuming process, but one Fort Carson Soldier took on the added burden of navigating the legal system to add a seventh child to his family.

    Sgt. 1st Class Edward Martin, military police, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, currently deployed to Kandahar province, Afghanistan, and his wife, Karyn Martin, residing in Leavenworth, Kansas, have opened their home as foster parents. They have taken in many displaced children over the last four years, but one child stole their hearts and has changed their lives forever.

    “We have had Connor since he was released from the hospital at 2 months of age. He was premature, so he had a rough start,” Karyn Martin said. “We have cared and loved him like he was ours to begin with, and once Connor’s parents lost their parental rights — a process that took nearly two years — we started the adoption process as soon as we could.”

    The Martins, who raised six children of their own, happened upon the foster care system through an unfortunate event.

    “Haili, one of our daughters that still lived with us at that time, had a friend whose mother had a 6-month-old girl and was going to jail,” Edward Martin said. “That mother had asked Karyn to watch her child while she was in jail. After talking, we decided to watch the little girl. Karyn contacted (a foster care and adoption services organization) so no one got into trouble. With that call, foster care became a real possibility.”

    The requirements to be a foster parent vary from state to state — in Kansas it’s a thorough affair.

    “The process to becoming a foster parent is a 10-week class and a lot of paperwork where you decide on ages, gender, race and issues you feel you may be able to deal with,” Karyn Martin said.

    “You also have to decide if you just want to be a foster parent or foster with the option to adopt if the parents’ rights are terminated. There is a very in-depth background check on everyone who lives in the home. You need references, a full inspection of your home and you have to go as far as making a diagram of your home with measurements of rooms as well as windows. It’s a lot of work, but it’s been well worth it.”

    Once they were licensed, the Martins began fostering babies from all different backgrounds, some with health issues, but they were prepared.

    “In your training you have to get CPR certified and have several classes that cover other medical needs,” Edward Martin said. “KVC holds a conference each year where you receive updates on events for foster children and refresher classes, if needed. You get to talk with other foster parents from your area that may be able to help you with any issues you are going through because they have been through it.”

    Although the Martins had a wealth of information available to them, there were still challenges ahead when they decided to adopt Connor.

    “As Connor has gotten older we have learned he has medical problems such as a lung disease, speech problems, epilepsy and a sleeping disorder that we deal with daily,” Karyn Martin said. “None of that stops him from being a happy little boy who is very easy to love. He’s nearly 3 now and although he deals with these illnesses, he still smiles all the time. He is the most amazing little boy.”

    Generally, the Martins foster a child until his parents are deemed capable by the courts to regain custody or the court rules the child becomes available for adoption. Once they were capable of adopting Connor, they began the process, but they say they didn’t choose to adopt him.

    “I would say Connor chose us,” said Karyn Martin. “He captured our hearts from day one. My husband and I were unable to have children together and each of us has children from previous marriages. With Connor, we have seven children. We have plenty of love to give a child and so many years of experience with children. We did wait a little late in life to start over, but Connor is a blessing for us, and I like to think we have been a blessing for him.”

    “It can be a very rewarding adventure if you have plenty of love to give these children who so desperately need it,” Edward Martin said. “Just helping one child is worth it.”



    Date Taken: 08.14.2014
    Date Posted: 08.16.2014 02:46
    Story ID: 139550
    Hometown: FORT CARSON, CO, US
    Hometown: LEAVENWORTH, KS, US

    Web Views: 190
    Downloads: 0