Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Kitty and Chet Dreyer

Kitty Dreyer was a woman from my hometown in Indiana who died on Monday at the age of 90. She was a sweet lady who had been married to an equally sweet man named Chet for close to 70 years. Together they had four children and lived a comfortable life in LaPorte. Most people are lucky to have that good of a life. When their kids got a little older they decided to become foster parents.

Most of the babies were in their home short term, waiting for adoptions to be approved. Many of the children stayed a few days or a few weeks. Some stayed longer. Over the years, Kitty and Chet took care of more than 1,000 babies. That's not a typo--1,ooo babies. Can you believe it? I cannot imagine the amount of love that they had in their hearts to give to all of those babies.

My sister lived with the Dreyers for three days back in 1967 until my parents adopted her. I came to live with the Dreyers in 1969 when I was 10 days old and lived with them for 10 months. While I was never given a reason as to why I was in foster care for so long, I do know that the Dreyers became attached to me and tried to adopt me. The Welfare Department wouldn't allow the adoption to take place because of their age. A few months after they were turned down, they were notified that I was being adopted.

I was so lucky to have known them while I was growing up. My parents asked Kitty and Chet to be my godparents, which they graciously agreed to do. To me, they were like an extra set of grandparents that I would occasionally visit. I thought it was so cool to have these "extra" relatives. It wasn't until I was older that I found out that I was the last child they had in their home. Kitty once told me that I broke their hearts when they weren't able to adopt me, so they stopped being foster parents.

Chet passed away last October. My mother went to the funeral on my behalf and found out that Kitty was very ill and couldn't attend her husband's funeral. When my mother approached one of their daughters to give her condolences, the daughter said, "Oh My God--you're Christine's mom." It took awhile for my mom to remember that Kitty had named me Christine. I guess it makes sense that I be named SOMETHING if I am in someone's home for 10 months. I always wondered why my parents didn't just keep that name when they got me--I'd certainly had it awhile.

Kitty and Chet leave behind an incredible legacy. I don't know any other couple who had so much love to give to so many children. Their kindness and warmth made 1,000 babies feel loved and safe while they waited for their new families to love them. Thank you Kitty and Chet.

16 comments:

Velma said...

Wow. What amazing people. Thanks for sharing some of your personal history, and for sharing such an inspiring legacy. Wow.

Melissa said...

What awesome people. They stopped being foster parents after you? Dam girl, they must of really loved you.

TB said...

What an amazing story. You brought tears to my eyes.

Kristen said...

That is such an incredible story. It renews my confidence in the people who are truly loving and sincere in their commitment to foster parenting. They sound amazing.

Pendullum said...

One beautiful people they were...
I am glad that you introduced them to me...
1,000 babies... all cuddled and loved by them... what a gift to humanity...
I am so sorry for your loss... You have beautiful guardian angels watching over your entire family now...
Thank you for sharing them with me...

JustLinda said...

I'm sorry for your loss, but thanks for sharing the story. Great tribute...

wordgirl said...

What a great story. People like Kitty and Chet are a rare and wonderful breed. They've given you a tremendous foundation of strength. Thanks for sharing this.

L. said...

I read this a few days ago, when you first posted it, and got all teary-eyed and didn`t comment.

Thanks for posting this -- it was (here comes something that`s going to sound corny and trite, but I mean it) really inspiring.

And I wonder why your parents changed your name???

The June Cleaver Diaries said...

Fabulous post (do I sound like spam?). I wish there were more people like them in the world.

Sorry I'm behind on the reading--- I'll call tomorrow and let you know about the fresh hell that hatched at my place over the weekend.

OTRgirl said...

Wow. I don't even know them and you've brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing tribute.

Candace said...

That was lovely. Have you ever asked your mom why they changed your name?

Susan said...

This is a lovely post. I'm so sorry for your loss.

gmcountrymama said...

That was a beautiful tribute to your foster and God Parents. They sound like they were very loving and giving people.
I was adopted as an infant in 1969 but have been unable to find any information on my biological history. Very discouraging.

kimmyk said...

Sorry for your loss Hausfrau.
They sounded like lovely people so giving and caring.

Kara said...

Sob.

Oh sweetie, that's so sad. I am so sorry for your loss... what an amazing legacy.

Andie D. said...

I'm sorry for your loss. But I'm happy for you that you were able to know them and you know where you were for those 10 months.

I was somewhere for about 3 weeks before I was adopted. I didn't even have a name. If a baby doesn't have parents and doesn't have a name, does she really exist?

It used to trip me out when I was a teenager. Hm. Guess it still does.