By Donna Knight
Published in the Indianapolis Star, Sunday, July 7, 1974
Posted here from the records of Dallas Fox.
â€œWe never had that first unsolvable problem with any of our teenagers,â€ says Mrs. Wade Fox of Brownsville.Â
â€œOccasional disagreements quickly clear up with discussion. All of the more than 130 children who have come to live with us have been treated just like our ownâ€
LOTS OF love and interest are credited with the success Helen and Wade Fox have had in raising foster children. Many of them were channeled through the years into the Foxesâ€™ suburban home after unsuccessful stays in other foster homes.
The big white country home continues to welcome youngsters from broken homes and those for whom the welfare department must find temporary lodging. Police know they can count on a welcome reception for any child in need of immediate loving care, pending solution of family problems.
A baby, almost frozen and with its milk bottle full of ice, was brought late one night by the police. Another time, an after-midnight call from the police sent the Foxes to the station where they picked up a small boy whose mother had just been jailed.
â€He reminded me of the prison camps in the South Pacific where prisoners had been so long in their clothes that they mildewed on them,â€ recalls Mr. Fox.
Each newcomer always was welcomed by their children, Mrs. Fox says of their own family of four boys and one girl. â€œSometimes, the visitor would have to share a bed or clothes and our children shared gladly.â€
THE CARE of foster children began in 1945 when the couple had three boys, Duane, Dallas and Gene.Â
â€œThey were tearing down the Frazee Home for Children at Connersville and needed home for the children housed there,â€ says Mrs. Fox, â€œso we offered to take some of the children.â€
She was pregnant at the time and before her daughter, Loretta, was born, several babies had come into their home and were cared for until they were adopted.
The shattering experience of parting with babies and very young children later prompted them to request only older children.
â€œWe decided not to take babies ~~~ Itâ€™s just too hard to give them up when theyâ€™re adopted,â€ explains Mrs. Fox.
â€œThe first two we took were a brother and sister. The boy had been taken to the hospital for an operation and when we planned to bring him home, we were informed heâ€™d been adopted and we never got to see him again. We couldnâ€™t help feeling weâ€™d deserted him.â€
THEIR FIFTH child, Michael, was born in 1960 and still finds foster brothers and sisters, whom heâ€™s never net, returning home for visits. Mike now alone remains at home, his three brothers grown and on their own. The daughter, Loretta, was killed in an automobile accident in 1965.
A foster daughter, Julie, was adopted by the couple and along with her husband now brings her two babies and joins the family gatherings on holidays and birthdays.
â€œSometimes thereâ€™s no place to park, even out on the road.â€ laughs Helen Fox of the crowd of foster children, their spouses and children who return to what they consider their family home for reunions.
â€œMust keep in touch and I canâ€™t remember the number of letters weâ€™ve had from the ones weâ€™ve raised, thanking us for how much we meant to them. Thereâ€™ve been quite a few that we got in their early teens and kept until they graduated from high school. Theyâ€™re just like our own.â€
Whether the children came in for an overnight or lengthy stay, they immediately are part of the family.
â€œEVERYONE IS treated the same,â€ says Helen Fox. â€œEach is responsible for making the bed and picking up belongings. We all share the chores, both in the house and in caring for the garden or mowing the grass.â€
The garden provides vegetables, which are canned and frozen, and again all the children assist when harvesting time comes.
The three acres of grounds includes a baseball diamond, basketball court, race track for tricycles and bicycles and parking for motor scooters and cars.
â€œWeâ€™ve signed for many of the teenagers wanting to get a driverâ€™s license or their own car when their own relatives wouldnâ€™t,â€ says Mrs. Fox. â€œWeâ€™ve never had one let us down.â€
Household chores in her eight-room home are primarily her duty, Helen Fox feels. â€œIf I donâ€™t feel well, the kids pitch in, but usually, I do most the work myself.
â€œI donâ€™t have many outside activities. I want to be home in case the children need me. People who are too busy donâ€™t have time to listen to their children. Talk can smooth our misunderstanding and I want to be there when they want to talk.â€
Mr. Fox who is employed at the Design and Manufacturing Company at Centerville, enjoys taking the children on hunting, fishing and bowling outings.
He shares their interests in sports and provides transportation into town when teens find part-time jobs.
â€œOne of the three boys now living with us rides into work with my husband in the morning, but he has to ride his bicycle the five miles back after work,â€ says Mrs. Fox
Recalling the almost 30 years of foster parenthood brings a mÃ©lange of memories ranging from countless cases of measles, mumps and banged-up knees to sleepless night, anxiously awaiting someoneâ€™s return from that first date.
A yard full of pets, one a friendly goat convinced he too was a child, and boxes of toys shared by all are part of the picture.
Miles of mending, sewing, and housework for an ever-changing number of children converge to present a lifeâ€™s work that Mrs. Fox considers a privilege.
â€œRAISING CHILDREN is the most rewarding work in the world.â€ she feels. Appreciation of their now far-flung brood was shown Fatherâ€™s Day when the long-distance calls came flooding in. â€œThey all wanted to talk to â€˜Mom and Dadâ€™, which is what all the children always called us.â€
The phone rings daily with questions for â€œMomâ€ on how to know when labor pain are â€˜for real.â€™ how to treat an ailing child or how to cook a turkey. A long extension cord allow â€œMomâ€ to advise while continuing her work.
Along with the joys, the couple share the sorrows of their foster children to. January, they attended the funeral of the child of Jack Dare, who for seven years shared their home.
Satisfaction is complete when what has been termed a problem youngster becomes a part of their family, easily blending in and offering no trouble.
â€œWE TOOK one boy who repeatedly had run away from other foster homes until no one else would have himâ€ reports Mrs. Fox. â€œHe worked out beautifully with us and we love him dearly.â€
When a pitch-in dinner or holiday party finds the house and grounds full and babies packed in improvised cribs, the Foxes feel they are reaping their rewards.
Of their belief that the best exercise in the world is bending over to help a little child.â€ Mrs. Fox decides
â€œIâ€™m up and down so much I feel like a yo-yo.â€