One altruistic Nebraska couple has welcomed hundreds of foster children into their home after drawing inspiration from a radio ad more than four decades ago.
The couple started their string of good deeds after they heard a commercial calling for willing people who had room in their home for just “one,” the couple told NowThis.
“Sure, I have room for one” Sandy Wilwerding said she thought to herself in that moment. Little did they know ‘one’ would turn into 168 in all.
Wilwerding and her husband of 52 years, Bud Wilwerding, started caring for foster children eight years after they were wed. The couple treated the foster kids as if they were their own.
“You sat in the rocker at night, and you rocked them, even if they were crying, and crying and crying,” Wilwerding said. “All you could think of is, ‘But, I’m holding you tonight. Would anyone be holding you if you went home?’”
Wilwerding said she would silently tell the children, “This is where you need to be right now.”
The Omaha couple is now retiring from foster care. A total of 32 children they cared for ended up being adopted by other families, while several more continue to return back to the Wilwerdings’ home to visit.
Wilwerding recalled a time when she told social workers she could not take another little boy into her home. She eventually relented, saying he would watch him for the weekend, but the boy ended up staying with them for four years.
The boy, now 17 years old, was eventually adopted and still comes back to visit the Wilwedings.
“He says he’s gonna come back and live with me someday,” Wilwerding said.
Although their home will no longer be filled with foster children, it certainly won’t be empty. The Wilwerdings also have four children, 12 grandchildren and one great-grandchild to pass on their incredible charitable spirit to.