Nearly 30 children find love in Horton home, a special place for teens

Foster Care

For Betty Horton and her husband Steve, foster parenting runs through their blood. Both have grandparents who fostered, and Betty especially was accustomed to having a house full of family and visitors growing up. Betty and Steve now find themselves fostering for Sunrise Children’s Services. Since 2005, they have cared for nearly 30 children ranging in age from seven months to 17 years, more than half of them teenagers.

“If someone would have told me a long time ago that we’d have a huge, extended family, I would have told them they lost their mind,” said Betty as she chuckles.

She described one instance where a 17-year-old mother and her 7-month-old child came together to live with them. They developed quite a bond as Betty helped the young mother learn how to parent. Betty is particularly fond of fostering teenagers, or as she calls them “the kids no one usually wants.”

Betty recounts some of their greatest moments as foster parents, such as seeing one child go to college, one girl get married, and one boy go to trade school. The Hortons have watched six of their foster children graduate high school over the years. Their proudest moment took place seven years ago at their church, Liberty Baptist Church in Vine Grove, Ky. Three boys they were fostering spoke to the congregation at a revival about how thankful they were to be taken care of and loved.

Betty used to be picky about house cleaning, but not anymore. “I used to want to have a model home, but our lives are all about people now. In the end, it’s all about these kids.”

Most recently, Betty and Steve fostered three biological siblings, who came to them from a household of domestic violence where they were also malnourished. When the children arrived at the Horton home, Betty was surprised to see that the oldest child knew how to scramble eggs at such a young age. She later learned that eggs laid by chickens in the backyard were often the children’s only available food source. He wanted to make sure his two younger siblings were fed.

Betty still keeps in touch with many of the children they’ve fostered through calls, visits and social media, and regularly recruits other parents to consider fostering and respite care.

“I think about what our life would be if we didn’t have a house full of children,” Betty said, noting that there is no end in sight for their fostering right now.

Written by Melissa Bailey, Associate Director of Communications for Sunrise Children’s Services.

Jake Pelfrey