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Full House: Christian Heritage Foster Families Come in All Sizes

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Christian Heritage has many foster parents committed to serving children in need and we are grateful for each one of them. However, some people are called and led to do more than foster.

Randy and Cindy Cherek are two such people. The Chereks have four grown children who no longer live at home, but this family was not ready to be empty nesters.

After becoming Christian Heritage foster parents, the family did respite for some children over the course of two or three months before they got their first placement. Eric was about 14 years old at the time and he did well in their home. Then they discovered that Eric had an older brother and several sisters. Six months later, this sibling group of six was reunited in the Chereks’ home. Shortly after that, another sister was born and she was placed with the Chereks right from the hospital.

Parental rights were terminated on five of the children and as the family prayed, Randy and Cindy became convinced that God was leading them to adopt.

Eric and four of his siblings were adopted on November 21, 2009. Nick, who is now 19, shares an apartment with the Chereks’ biological son Tyler (20). However, Eric (17), Maggie (14), Sophie (9), Christina (6), and their two sisters make the Cherek home a very active household. The family is still hoping to adopt the sisters (ages 16 and 2), but due to legal issues, the parental rights have not yet been terminated.

Although some of the children still participate in family therapy and all of the children occasionally have some age-inappropriate behaviors, the Chereks report that their family is like any other. Their children are learning boundaries and social skills. The older children are also learning responsibility. If they want to earn extra money, they can ask for additional chores.

The family enjoys playing board games, camping, swimming, and going to movies. Two of the girls like to play Zumba. Maggie sings at church and is learning to play the guitar; her teacher has asked her to help the younger children in summer school. Sophie is a good student and loves to write. Eric is also a good student. Christina struggles to stay focused but she is making great progress.

The Chereks continue to do respite and to babysit their two grandchildren (ages 2 and 4) during the day. Cindy home-schools two of their children and the others have chosen to remain in public school. Randy is a contractor and works from home; he is also studying to be a chef. This busy family’s schedule may sound a little crazy, but the Chereks wouldn’t have it any other way.

For more information, please visit www.chne.org.

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