OCTOBER 23, 2013

Fostering children a personal mission

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Kris Jacober, who grew up in Detroit, has lived in the Valley for many years.  She and her husband Joe were married in 1985 and are empty nesters.  They have three biological young adult children: Bo, age 22, works for an advertising agency in New York City; Jenna, 24, is a third grade schoolteacher in the Paradise Valley district; and Katie, 26, a nurse at Phoenix Children's Hospital.  Bo and Jenna are single; Jenna's getting married next September.  Kris and Joe have dedicated their lives to the 15 foster children they've cared for during the past 12 years.

The Jacobers decided to begin this journey when their bio children were younger because they really liked being around kids and thought it would be a "good thing" to do.  "We wanted to be able to impact kids one on one.  Of all these children only one was reunified with its biological parents after being with the Jacobers for nearly two years.  Another was adopted by good friends of the Jacobers who live in Colorado Springs.  They visit him every year on his birthday.  The remaining foster children went to live with relatives.  In addition to the Colorado Springs boy, Kris and Joe maintain contact with their former charges.  One is a girl who is attending Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff; Kris visited her Oct. 5.  Two others are living with an aunt in Tucson and the Jacobers visit them also.

Kris has her "dream" job – executive director of the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation.  She is one of only two paid employees.  The foundation's large board of directors picks up the slack with fundraising and event planning.  "I wanted to be in a place that was dedicated to helping kids in foster care.  It's our (hers and Joe's mission)," she says proudly and confidently.  "I would like people to know children in foster care are children and they want to have the kind of childhood experiences other kids have.  We (the foundation) give them the opportunities to do what other kids do; they didn't do one thing to cause them to come into care."