Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 23, 1953

One Home Shared By Hundred Homeless

Howard Justiss, Madison, Wisconsin

Last year I became acquainted with a foster mother and her activities in caring for many dependent and neglected children for the state of Wisconsin. She kept these children in her home on a boarding basis. Mr. and Mrs. Walker had only one daughter of their own because Mrs. Walker was unable to have other children. After this one daughter had received her Ph.D. and had married, Mrs. Walker decided to board children who were under the care of the state and who needed a temporary home until a more permanent arrangement, such as an adoptive home, a return to their own home, long-term boarding, or an institutional arrangement could be worked out. Mr. Walker worked for the University of Wisconsin and had much spare time, and an interest in children. Mrs. Walker was a warm, accepting, understanding lady who loved children. In 1934 the first child was placed in the Walker home. Since that time they have boarded over a hundred such children of both sexes and of all ages from periods of a few days to as many as seventeen years. Most of their boarders stay for a short time while other arrangements are being made with relatives, own parents, adoptive parents or institutions. Mr. and Mrs. Walker may be reluctant to give up a child after they have worked faithfully with him. They console themselves however by thinking of a job well done, that there are children in their home, and others will come. At the present time (Feb. 1953) there are ten children in the Walker home. One of these is an eight-year-old girl named Cathy, who is crippled so badly that she requires special care and attention. I was in the Walker home one afternoon when this child arrived by special bus from orthopedic school. Because Mrs. Walker was talking with me she, calmly, asked another child to help Cathy up the front steps. Cathy smiled a greeting to "Toughie"-ten-year-old-Edwin who took her crutches and assisted her into the house. I could see Edwin brace her foot with his foot as she removed her snow suit. Cathy gave a cheery "hello" as she wobbled to her special chair in an adjoining room. She had been rejected by her own mother who was divorcing the father. No one would take Cathy except Mrs. Walker who made the spoiled, neglected, hateful child into a well behaved young lady.

I was amazed to learn how skillfully Mrs. Walker managed all these children. Even though most of them had come from broken homes and had been rejected, they were orderly and seemed contented. Both foster parents supervise the recreation of the youngsters on weekends and evenings. Each night they conduct a "family worship service" and have Bible study. Children, who had never heard of such learn to lead prayers and read the scriptures. The children are not punished or restricted in a rigid way, but discipline is maintained through genuine acceptance and affection for the children. That is what is needed. When the Walkers determine a child has a feeling of security, they help the caseworker move him to more permanent living arrangements. But he never forgets what the Walkers did for him. One of their ex-boarders, who is a nurse in Japan, wrote a "thank you" note to them enclosing $25. Theirs is a work for which the state of Wisconsin pays at the rate of $2 per day per child. The pathetic thing about all the good work being done by Mr. and Mrs. Walker is that they are not members of the New Testament church. They teach their Mormon doctrine and take those dependent children to Mormon services each Sunday.

Could we not provide love, security, care, and Bible instruction for many of the dependent children we now maintain in our orphanages just as the Walker's are doing in Madison, Wisconsin? Such a program would require no institution; and the legal arrangements are very simple.

I feel that many Christian parents whose own children have gone from their home, would be willing to "board" homeless children and give them the advantages of a normal, secure home life with Christian influence and Bible teaching. Those foster parents who are willing and qualified to do this work deserve the financial assistance of the whole congregation. Without this help some could not afford to keep children. Others can. If the children have a parent who is financially able, that parent, through the caseworker, should be helped to assume all the expenses. In this way parents are not encouraged to neglect their moral obligations to "provide for their own." (1 Tim. 5:8)