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A Plea for More Foster Parents

Country singer Jimmy Wayne was taken in as a foster child at 16 and says it changed his life. (Jimmy Wayne)
Country singer Jimmy Wayne was taken in as a foster child at 16 and says it changed his life. (Jimmy Wayne)
December 1, 2016

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Country singer Jimmy Wayne has a message he's sharing across the country – thousands of children need help, and he was one of them.

Years after he was taken in, Wayne has written songs and a book on the topic, and also appears at public events around the country in an effort to recruit more foster parents.

Wayne says he lived a rough life, saw three murders by the time he was 8 years old, and was homeless as a teenager. Then, an older couple took him in as a foster child and turned his life around.

Wayne says he was lucky, since many children in his situation don't get that opportunity.

"Everybody wants the pretty Christmas tree, you know – they don't want the one that was in Charlie Brown, the ugly Christmas tree and the one that doesn't look perfect,” he says. “Being 16, and had long hair and living outside and wearing the same clothes every day, I didn't fit the criteria of a foster kid, or a kid that somebody that was willing to give a chance or trust."

Wayne has written about his life before and after foster care in a book called "Walk to Beautiful."

He says there are so many people who are qualified to be foster parents but don't know it, and there are thousands of children waiting for homes.

He adds almost everyone has something to offer children in need, and it isn't all about money.

"We're like, 'Well I don't have a resource,'” he states. “Well, yes you do. If you cut hair, you can go down to the children's home and cut their hair for free, because they don't have the money to pay for a haircut.

“'Well, I don't want to take time from my golf game.' Well, take one of those kids with you. Put him in a cart and let him sit there and watch. He'll eventually talk."

In 2010, Wayne walked halfway across the country to raise awareness for children in foster care, and received the Points of Lights Award from former president George H. W. Bush. But he says no one should get an award for helping children – it's what we're all supposed to do.

"When it comes down to it, all that junk we worked so hard – spent our hard earned money on and spent all our time on, you know at the end, it's all junk anyway,” he states. “What really matters most is how we invest our time and resources in helping other people, especially the kids."

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MO