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Fosters a 'blessing'

Senior writer

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On a typical Monday in the Jayne home, the family of six will enjoy dinner and watch wrestling, a house favorite.

The family also likes to go swimming and play board games and parents Keith and Kate always make sure each child is safe and loved.

The Jayne family sounds like a relatively ordinary one, but that wasn’t the case three years ago.

link CHRISTINA CALLOWAY: Staff photo

The Jayne family plays a card game Wednesday in their Portales home. Pictured from left are Jonathan, EJ, Pancha, James, Kate and Keith Jayne. The Jaynes adopted the four children in 2013 after serving as foster parents.

In 2011, the couple didn’t have any children but they wanted to. They decided to become foster parents, a surefire way to become adoptive parents because they knew the need for both fosters and adoptive parents was high in Roosevelt and Curry counties.

According to Carol Gonzales, county office manager of both counties for New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department, there are 66 children in foster care between the two counties.

The Jaynes went from zero to four children in their home when they were approved to be fosters, a transition they admit was scary but through this process they adopted the four children they have now.

The couple still serves as fosters, having as many as seven children in their home at once, but it’s an experience they say they wouldn’t trade and encourage those in the area who want to be parents to give fostering a chance.

“There’s a huge need in this area for foster parents,” Kate Jayne, a teacher, said. “We get so many calls for kids but it’s always a blessing. We’re blessed to have the kids.”

“Even if it’s a short time, you’re making a difference,” added Keith Jayne.

The point of fostering is to give children a safe and loving home until they can reunite with their biological families, but Gonzales said about 50 percent of children in their care in Roosevelt County, and 27 percent in Curry, have a plan for adoption.

Gonzales said the need for fosters is high because they often lose foster parents when they become adoptive families and most fosters in the area are maxed out on the amount of children they can have in their home.

“We prefer not to go out of county,” Gonzales said. “These kids are losing their family for the most part so when they go out of county, they’re losing their friends, they’re losing their school and any connections they have to their home.”

She added children from Curry County are often placed with families in Roosevelt County.

The majority of the children in care in both counties fall in the age group between 5 and 12. The next largest group are children 3 and under.

Gonzales said many of their cases they are involved in are due to methamphetamine use by the biological parents.

Kate Jayne said she knows there are “horror stories” about foster care, but she and her husband believe those are the exceptions to the system.

“We’ve had so many kids that just needed love,” Kate Jayne said. “They act out because they’re scared.”

Ezekiel “EJ” Jayne remembers when he was that scared child. The 13-year-old, originally from Tucumcari, has lived with the Jaynes along with his two younger siblings Pancha and Jonathan for about two years now. The siblings had their adoptions finalized last year.

“I appreciate that they could’ve picked anyone else in the whole world, but they picked us,” said EJ with a smile.

EJ said the first time he was separated from his biological parents was hard for him.

“My first time, I was crying. I didn’t know what was going on,” he said. “Some kids feel sad because their parents aren’t there for them.”

He wants potential foster parents to know children just want to be treated well.

“Treat them right and don’t be mean to them,” he said.