Claremore Daily Progress

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January 19, 2014

WANTED: LOVING HOMES

Rogers County is in need of foster parents

CLAREMORE —

It was 1997 when Mark and Karen Ogle made a decision that changed their lives forever.
They became foster parents.
“Karen came home one day and said ‘I think this is something we should do,’” Mark remembers. “It’s been one of the most rewarding things we’ve ever done.”
He admits they were a little naive going into it, not really sure what to expect.
“The training was very eye-opening. I was unaware of the need, and of course it’s even greater now,” Ogle said. “You don’t hear about it. It’s an unseen population of children.”
In 1999, they co-founded the Rogers County Foster Care Association. 
Over the years, the Ogles have opened their home — and hearts — to 76 children.
“The most we ever had at one time was seven or eight — Karen and I can’t agree which — and all but one was under age 7,” Mark said. “It was only for a week, under special circumstances, but it was wild!”
Although they are not currently active foster parents, with four children of their own at home, Mark says they will consider getting involved again in the future.
Several of their former foster kids still keep in touch, now grown with families of their own.
“It’s not just about providing safety, food and shelter — it’s about giving a child a loving home. Once they are in your home, they’re part of your family,” Ogle said. “ Foster parents aren’t often portrayed in a positive light in TV and movies, but the majority just want to provide good, loving homes.”
And while many people are apprehensive to take on the responsibility, Ogle said the rewards greatly outnumber the challenges.
“It has allowed us to see through their eyes and realize all the things we take for granted. I always thought I had a boring, normal childhood, but when we started doing this, I called my mom and told her thank you,” he said. “You see the results of the worst people, but you also see children’s potential and resiliency.”

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