Diana McCormick of South Webster always wanted a big family, but she never expected to raise more than 200 children. McCormick grew up with 14 brothers and sisters, so a big family was her normal.
“I started out wanted a really large family with maybe 12 kids,” she explained.
Her mom was a role model to her, and with so many siblings, McCormick was accustomed to caring for children.
“I had probably the most awesome mother there ever was,” she stated. “And, I’ve taken care of kids all my life.”
Then, in 1982, when McCormick tried to start a family, tragedy struck. She was pregnant with her first child, and her brother was killed. During the stressful time, McCormick had a miscarriage. Afterwards, she had to have a hysterectomy and thought she would never have the family she had always wanted.
McCormick and her husband at the time tried to adopt. Just as they thought their prayers were answered and they would have a child to love, they found out that the adoption they had been looking forward to was a scam. Heartbreak did not cause McCormick to give up. The young couple spent $30,000 in in vetro fertilization, but the embryos would not attach to the surrogate. Finally, in 1994, McCormick adopted her first son. She and her husband went through Children Services to adopt a child, rather than foster. He was a two-year-old little boy who lit up her life.
Soon, however, the boy wanted siblings. To ensure there always kids in the house, McCormick and her husband became foster parents.
“I never dreamed of being a foster parent. When I was in school, I never dreamed up being a caregiver of children,” McCormick stated.
Through the years, however, McCormick continued to foster and adopted other children that were adoption placements. Four of the children she adopted were siblings.
“When I met them, I just fell in love,” she explained.
McCormick has adopted a total of seven but has fostered more than 200.
“I believe every child deserves a home,” she explained.
Because of that belief, McCormick has never turned down a child. She has taken in babied and toddlers but really enjoys teens.
“It’s the older kids that really need me,” she said.
The mother to all explained that some of the kids she has taken in have had anger issues, acted out sexually and had trouble with school.
“They seem to be really bad kids, but some of them just want to be a part of a family,” McCormick explained. “I’m not afraid to hug any child. Every child needs to be hugged. Every child needs to be loved.”
In addition to taking children of all ages, McCormick also fosters children with disabilities. With usually five or more kids in her care at a time, McCormick currently has a child that was born addicted to drugs. As a result, he has cerebral palsy and has seizures. He is also partially paralyzed on one side from having a stroke. He is not the first child with a disability that McCormick has cared for. Over the years, she has had children with autism and other even severe developmental disabilities. She loves them no less, however.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” she stated. “A child is a child. I’ve had a lot of challenging kids.”
Challenging children are never a problem for McCormick. It is the challenging children that she feels she can reach because she can offer them a home and love that they may not have experienced, even when police have had to come in her home and arrest children.
“I have a lot of compassion for these kids,” McCormick commented. “They make me happy and when you get love from them, it shows you have reached that child a little bit.”
Even though she has raised so many children throughout the years, McCormick said she has no plans to stop doing what she loves. Her older children even want to be foster parents and help her out with the placements she currently has.
“I’m not just a foster parent. We’re a foster family,” she stated.
McCormick plans to grow that family until she is no longer physically able.
“There’s too many kids out there that need love,” she commented.
And, she never seems to run out of the love to give. Not only does she take care of these children, she tries to help the family. She once had a foster child that would ask to order two cheeseburgers anytime they would stop to eat before visiting his grandma. McCormick found out it was because he worried that his elderly grandmother never had food. So, McCormick started taking some groceries over during visits. Doing so helps not only the families, but the children as well. Outside of fostering, McCormick always tries to help children in the community that may be in need.
“It’s not just about being a foster parent. You see a kid that needs a coat, and you get them a coat,” she said.
Through this way of giving, McCormick has not only become a mother to her own children but a mother to all children.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.