Woman Offers a Home to More Than 600 Children During 50 Years


“I loved them like they were my own,” this is how Linda Herring described the more than 600 foster children she has raised during the last 50 years. Herring said she always wanted a big family, and that is what she got. Through the years, she turned her home into a safe haven. She gave each child shelter, food, clothing, and special love to those in her care.

Johnson County, Iowa Is Where She Opened Her Home
Along with her husband, Bob, the couple began taking in foster children in Oxford, Iowa. Later they moved to Tiffin, where they continued their endeavor. Linda said her best friend offered foster care for teenage girls. She felt that would be nice to do, “but I wanted little kids,” she said. Next, she spoke to the Department of Human Services. She agreed that she would take the children with medical needs.

Linda Had A Lot On Her Plate
The caring woman spent her nights working at a nearby high school as a custodian. For nearly 50 years, she also volunteered as a first responder. She was known in her county for never turning any child away. It did not matter their age, gender, or special needs. She would often be found traveling to pick up a foster child who needed a home.

Her Inspiration Came From Love
Linda said, “I cried when the kids would leave my home, no matter how long they had been there. It was so hard for me to say goodbye to them. I always questioned why I kept doing this. It was because it was never easy to say goodbye to a child. But I kept doing it because I had so much love to give these children in need.”

Anthony Herring’s Special Thoughts
The couple, through the years, officially adopted several of the foster children. One child was Anthony Herring. He told CNN, “I’m forever grateful for the life I was given. She and Dad have both taught me that family isn’t determined by blood; it’s who you have in your life to love.” Anthony, 39, was placed in the Herring home when he was six-months-old. The Herring’s officially adopted him when he was three-years-old. Anthony was one of the three that Linda and her husband adopted through the years. They also had five children of their own.

Health Interferes With Her Fostering
Last October, Linda, 75, decided it was time to stop her foster care. This was because of health concerns. Following her announcement, she was honored by the Johnson County Board of Supervisors with a resolution of appreciation last week. The department commented that they would call Linda, in the middle of the night, to take a child. She would go anywhere to get the child. This is truly a woman who cared for and a woman who changed the lives of many children.