|Interview with my Grandmother|
“Poor Papa,” my grandmother said to me, followed by a laugh. “He’s always being recognized as Carol’s husband around here.” While it is true he is often known as “Carol’s husband”, it is a stretch to believe he finds anything wrong with it. He knows he is blessed to have such an amazing woman as his wife; his biggest complaint is with trying to keep up with her.
My grandmother started Dayspring Ministries in 1976 as a foster program but, in 1998, after retiring from foster care, she decided to change the mission of Dayspring Ministries following a heartbreaking trip to Haiti. After seeing people live in tin huts, drink dirty water, bath in rivers, and live off a dollar a day, I do not believe she has ever been the same. Perhaps the biggest testimony of her commitment to her Haitian friends lies in the fact that 99% of donations go to Haiti, with Dayspring’s only costs being paper, ink and envelopes. The change she seeks to bring about in Haiti has changed the lives of many orphans, widows and those in need of medical help. Unlike many of us, my grandmother sees how ordinary people can make a difference; just $1 a day from one of us can save a life in Haiti.
Heidi: Where did you grow up?
Nana: I was born in Dover and lived for two years on Lake Hopatcong. Then my family moved to Staten Island until I was eight, and from there we settled in Whippany, NJ.
Heidi: Where did you go to College? What was your initial plan for your life?
Nana: I went to Marietta College in Ohio and Ohio State University where I was a music major. My father wanted me to find a college-educated husband and get married, but I’m not sure I had any real plan for my life when I was in college.
Heidi: How did you end up in Chester, NJ?
Nana: I wanted to live in NJ and my husband, Bruce (a business consultant), was commuting to NYC at the time. I came from Whippany, so we were looking in this local area. We knew that Bruce was going to be transferred to Florham Park eventually, so Chester seemed like a good place to live.
Heidi: What did your family look like before foster children?
Nana: Our first child was actually children, we had triplets, two identical boys and a girl. After they all left for preschool I was home alone. At that point we decided to adopt, rather than take a chance on having another set of multiples. We adopted our five-day-old African-American daughter, Allison, and two years later we adopted our Korean daughter, Jamie, who was five years old. When the triplets were about ten, we started taking in foster kids and were eventually able to adopt our first foster baby, Christopher.
Heidi: What led you to start taking in foster kids? When did it begin?
Nana: A friend of ours from church knew a family who was having some problems with their teenage daughter. She wanted to know if the girl could stay at our house for a while. She only stayed for 3 weeks, but DYFS discovered that we were willing to take teenagers, so they called up and asked if we’d take a brother and sister from Randolph and we said yes. We never officially applied to be foster parents, it just sort of happened.