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Heartbreak Leads to Pella Family Fostering 100th Child

PELLA, Iowa  --  An innocent request at a Pella church in 1995 changed everything for Deb and Mike Schuring.

"The preacher's daughter came up to us asked if we would consider getting into foster care," said Deb.

Over 22 years later, Mike is now holding the family's 100th foster child.

"Did we really have 100 babies? How did we? Did we do this for 22 years?" asked Deb.

The couple began doing newborn-only foster care after two children of their own were born. The decision was sparked from initial heartbreak of having two children born on May 9th in 1982 and May 9th in 1983 die within days of their birth because of lung issues.

"We believe we understand the hearts of those who had trouble starting their families," Deb said.

Seeing those families' joy is what kept the Schurings going all this time, but it takes the entire family.

"On day three of getting no sleep I can barely lift my arms, and I hear him (Mike) get up in the middle of the night with a newborn. He's walking the halls and singing to the baby, and I don't ask, he just does it," said Deb.

The foster home community took a devastating hit when two former foster children, Natalie Finn of West Des Moines in 2016 and Sabrina Ray in 2017, died of malnourishment at the hands of their adoptive parents.

Deb said, "The norm is people whose hearts just really are committed to helping give these children a good start."

The longest the Schurings have had a child is 11 months, but the bond created in their nursery can have lasting effects.

"We've had families come from out of state who have moved on to bring their child back to see where they started out. We get invited to graduations and birthday parties, and we receive lots of Christmas cards," Deb said.

The family keeps pictures of all the children they've held in their arms--a photo album with memories of all 100 kids.  For the Schurings, giving back has given them so much more.

Deb said, "It has brought us abundant joy and it has been good for our children."

The Schurings recently became grandparents, so they say it is time to scale back on the amount of foster parenting in order to be available to visit their grandchild in Clive whenever possible.