La Verne Magazine
Fostering Hope One Child at a Time
by Summer L. Douglass
photography by Erica Paal
Chuck and Kathy Daugherty, members of the Bethany Baptist Church in Montclair,
Calif., have opened their home and hearts to many foster children from the
David and Margaret Home of La Verne. Among the seven foster children that
they have cared for, they adopted two of them which are biological sisters,
Adriana, 14, and Nicole, 11, (front). In addition to the foster children
who they have cared for, the Daughertys also have three biological children
of their own Eric, 23, Sean, 21, and Laura 18, (middle).
It looks like a simple blue and white house from the street. Fresh grass
and flowers line a white picket fence that leads to the house that fits
nicely in the suburbs of Claremont.
Inside lives a family who dedicate its lives to helping children who
otherwise would have a slim chance for a bright future. Pictures cover the
walls of different foster children who have come to live with the Daugherty
family over the years.
Many children in the United States are taken out of their homes every
year due to physical and/or mental abuse. These children have no one to
love and nurture them. Becoming foster parents is something that Chuck and
Kathy Daugherty decided to do a long time ago.
"We always had thought about it. You know, one day maybe wanting
to become foster parents," says Kathy. "It was pretty much a calling
with us. You just get this desire to do it and it comes from the heart."
People choose to become foster parents for several different reasons.
Whatever those reasons may be, everyone who decides to become a foster parent
has the chance to change a child's life for the better.
"A lot of people can't have their own children, so this is a way
for them to reach out to different kids," says Deena Robertson, director
of the David and Margaret Home in La Verne. "Others do it for spiritual
reasons, because they feel it's important to give back and help others.
They don't like to see children being hurt."
Chuck and Kathy have been married for 27 years and have five children:
Eric, 23, Sean, 21, and Laura, 18, who are their biological children, and
Adriana, 14, and Nicole, 11, who are their adopted children.
Adriana was 18 months old when she came to live with the Daugherty family.
One year later, they were told by their social worker that Adriana's biological
mom was pregnant again, and she wondered if they would take the newborn
"The social worker said that they wanted to keep the siblings together,
so we decided to say yes," says Kathy. "We got Nicole when she
was 3 days old."
Adriana and Nicole have been together since Nicole was born. When Nicole
came to live with the Daugherty family, Chuck and Kathy had their hands
full with five children. It is the mission of the David and Margaret Home
to keep siblings together if it is in the best interest of the child, officials
"If the siblings do not get along and living together is not in
their best interest, then we try to place them in separate homes that are
a short distance from each other," says Robertson. "We do this
so the siblings will still be able to see each other."
"It took the courts four years to release Adriana and Nicole for
adoption. They were 5 and 7 by the time we signed papers to adopt them,"
Many people do not realize how to become foster parents. Chuck and Kathy
discovered the David and Margaret Home one night during dinner.
"We were sitting at the dinner table one night and saw the David
and Margaret Home in the paper recruiting people to be foster parents,"
says Chuck. "What sparked my interest was that it was so local,"
The David and Margaret Home is located at 1350 Third Street in the city
of La Verne. The home, founded in 1910, first served as an orphanage for
boys and girls.
"I think there is something that a lot of people don't realize,"
Robertson explains. "The David and Margaret Home is very rich in history,
and there are several programs offered here. Foster care is just one program
out of many."
The Foster Family Agency was started in 1986. Through this program,
boys and girls who are abused or neglected are placed in a stable family
setting. This allows the child to be in a positive environment and begins
the healing process.
The mission of the home is to offer a wide range of services to the
children and their families, which addresses their physical, emotional,
educational and spiritual needs. The home is always trying to help children
who are the victims of abuse and neglect in their homes. They place the
children in foster care and in the meantime, try to help the biological
parents of the child rehabilitate so they can be reunited with their child.
"A lot of parents who end up abusing their kids are parents who
do not have any resources available to them," says Shelby Russell,
public relations associate for the David and Margaret Home.
There is no guarantee how long a child will be placed in a home. If
the natural parents can prove that they are rehabilitating and are suitable
parents, then the child may only be in the foster home for a day, a week
or a month.
"One Friday night, we were getting ready to leave on a vacation
to Carlsbad for a week in our motor home. We got a telephone call that the
courts had released Adriana back to her mother," Chuck explains. "It
was like somebody stabbed us in the back; that's how much it hurt. Within
two hours she was gone."
The Daugherty family felt a great loss when Adriana was taken from them.
Three weeks later, their lives changed once again, when Chuck received a
"I was at home when Kathy was away on another vacation with our
other children. I was up here and I got a phone call from the social worker
that Adriana was back in care," Chuck says. "Did I want her back?
Later that night, Adriana was reunited with Chuck and the family in
Balboa, Calif. She never had to leave the family again, and 18 months later
Adriana met her new sister, Nicole.
Over the years, the Daugherty family has cared for five different children
whom they did not end up adopting. Ryan and Mary were only a few days old
when they were taken to the family, Jessica was 3 months old; Melissa was
18 months old and Britney was 1. Each child lived with the family for different
periods of time. Whether it was 3 months, one year or two years, the Daugherty
family generously opened their home to these children.
"My parents were giving these kids a better life," says Laura,
18, the Daugherty's youngest biological daughter. "I would always try
not to get attached to the children, even though I would get attached. I
would tell myself that these children are not going to be staying here."
The emotional toll of losing a young child after becoming attached is
"All of our children would deal with their grief differently,"
says Kathy. "Some would cry, some would act weird and some just wouldn't
The David and Margaret Home employees have consistently been there to
see the Daugherty family through their tough times. The family shares a
close and ongoing relationship with different people who work at the home.
Linda Levshin is one employee who has been in direct contact with the family
from the beginning.
"Three months after Kathy had come to the home, I was hired. So
we were new together," says Levshin. "I was new in the field,
and they were new foster parents. So we learned together."
Foster parenting can be seen as a painful experience when families get
torn apart, but it is also full of a sense of accomplishment and the ability
to give someone else a chance at life. Many people have supported the Daugherty
family in their efforts to give their five children a comfortable lifestyle.
"Our church has gotten so involved with our family. They are always
encouraging us and are very supportive," explains Kathy. "Extended
family members and friends are also very supportive."
The family has explained how painful it can be to become a foster parent,
but they also demonstrate how to get through the painful times.
"We try to psychologically use our faith to deal with our hurt.
I'd rather hurt than them," says Kathy. "I'm an adult, and I can
rationalize it out, and they can't if they're a baby. You know, they can't
understand why someone is not feeding them or changing their diapers."
Kathy has many stories to share with people about her years as a foster
parent. She has inspired several other families to explore becoming foster
parents because of how inspired she has been by the children who have come
into her life.
"Kathy was always good at talking to new foster parents and sharing
her experiences," says Levshin. "She has encouraged people to
do it because they saw how passionate she was about fostering."
The David and Margaret Home has successfully placed several children
like Adriana and Nicole in homes with people who can love them and provide
them a stable future. There is also a residential program at the home. The
original orphanage at the home was coed. However, the residential program
is now for girls only.
"The overall objective of the residential program is to assist
each girl in reaching different goals," says Robertson. "Here,
the girls get some family life, but it is more structured. They are told
when to go to bed and when to get up. They receive therapy at least once
In addition, the girls who are part of the residential program attend
seminars about drug and alcohol abuse, anger management and eating disorders.
The main objective of the residential program is to help each girl reach
her full potential.
Levshin said that being a foster parent is so rewarding because "the
thought that you are helping someone, not just a child, but a whole family
unit to get their act together, is very rewarding."