According to Children’s Rights, an organization dedicated to protecting and fostering hope in America’s children, almost 443,000 kids are in foster care around the country on any given day. They’re not always visible, but plenty of those kids are spread about Northwest Indiana, including in the home of Hobart’s Kelly McGuire.
McGuire earned a spot in the national spotlight after giving the boots on her feet to a homeless woman after a Bears game. The Facebook post she made about the encounter went viral, and McGuire’s kindness drew the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, who invited the lifelong Hobart resident onto her eponymous talk show. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but if you ask McGuire to talk about her life’s highlights she only really talks about one thing – parenting.
“From a very early age, I knew that I was interested in caretaking and helping. I just loved the whole idea of motherhood,” McGuire said. “I have two biological kids who are 5 and 4 years old, and my adopted twins.”
She and her husband/high school sweetheart Sean McGuire permanently adopted the pair after falling in love while fostering them.
“We knew that we wanted a big family, we just weren’t sure how to go about it,” McGuire said. “Then I remembered back in high school when I heard about a family who was fostering kids. I just had a light go off in my head telling me ‘I want to do that.’ It wasn’t until my husband brought it up, and let me know he was completely on board, that we knew that fostering was how we’d expand our family.”
With four kids ages 5 and younger, the McGuires are on hold as long-term fosters right now. Instead, Kelly dedicates her extra time to helping other foster families around the Region.
“Fostering is a gift to these families,” she said. “I truly believe that we should be doing everything we can to help take care of people who are down on their luck, or need a little bit of extra help. There’s so much that everybody has to offer, be it bringing kids into your home or bringing meals to families doing foster care.”
McGuire attributes her philosophy toward parenting and foster care to her mother’s influence.
“I am everything that I am because of the mom who raised me, and that’s the truth,” McGuire said. “She taught us really early about the biblical idea to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly. She’s so patient, kind, and just the most constant, stable provider in my life. She took care of us while my dad was deployed all the time and I can’t remember one time when she complained about it.”
Her parents still play a big part in her life, and serve as part of the support network she relies on for her kids – foster or otherwise. She lives sandwiched between her parents and her husband’s parents, with her sister living just down the road. Beyond that, she is continually impressed by the support shown by the community at large.
“The foster community across both Lake and Porter counties is a real family that’s banded together to support these kids,” McGuire said. “Locally, my dad works at the high school and is a part-time pastor at Church of the Nazarene. That church was so gracious and donated around 30 boxes of diapers and meals for two weeks when the twins were first placed with us.”
When she manages to find free time, McGuire loves to spend it with music. She used to teach it part-time to young children, and still finds time to occasionally tutor family and friends. Despite all the excitement that comes with raising four kids, her favorite part of every day is very simple.