Breakfast time at the Foreman home can be a hectic time. Aaron and Kristine have their hands full just dealing with their two kids.
“It is stressful because our son has Asperger’s, which is a form of autism. So there are some challenges there,” said Kristine.
Despite the stress, theirs is a place where there is always room at the table.
“Family for me is unconditional love,” said Aaron. And here, unconditional means unconventional. Table talk is rarely about the day’s homework.
“Some of it is literally life and death issues,” said Kristine.
Those issues surround their “extended family” - people who were total strangers just three months ago and are now called sons and daughters.
Kristine smiled. “I just fell in love with them.”
The unlikely love story starts with a homeless heroin addict named Kyle, whom Kristine found soaked and freezing outside a second hand store this spring. She invited him home for a warm meal.
“All I wanted to do was wrap my arms around him and say, ‘You’re home,’” she said.
The couple offered Kyle their couch, provided he quit drugs, and so began an odyssey they never imagined.
“Not a day goes by that we don’t ask ourselves, ‘What were we thinking,’” laughed Kristine.
Kyle started sneaking in two friends, Devon and Stephanie. Two more addicts who were desperate to get clean. Devon is an ex-con. At 22, he has already served three years for gun charges, beating a man with a baseball bat and robbing someone’s house on Christmas Eve. His mother is on Arizona’s death row.
“Why would these people want to help us? We’re the scum of the earth,” Devon said he wondered.
“We were so used to people turning their backs on us that it took us a while to get comfortable,” added Stephanie.
The Foremans took them in, and others as well.
The family’s dining room, now filled with beds, looks more like a well-kept homeless shelter. Since March they’ve had up to seven young drug addicts, homeless and criminals under their roof at one time, and they do it all on Kristine’s one modest paycheck. They’ve been stolen from, lied to, but their forgiveness is endless.
“From the outside, it looks kind of irresponsible and crazy,” said Aaron. “But on the inside, it’s all love.”
And should some other stranger, who sincerely wants help, show up on the doorstep tonight, Kristine simply says, “We’d make room. Scooch over.”
As for Devon and Stephanie, they’ve started going to church, have been clean for three months and are now engaged.
“I’ve definitely been one of the worst people walking on the streets. Now, I’m not. And that feels pretty good,” said Devon.
Another housemate, Justin, is clean, too, and working a construction job.
But Kyle, the young man responsible for the family opening their home and helping all these people, relapsed and is back on the streets. For now, Kristine and Aaron await his hopeful return. Their doors remain open to anyone in need of a family, and a place to call home.
“There is a park full of kids down the street who are just like him,” said Aaron. “As long as there is somebody who needs help, I can’t stop.”
The Foremans are so inspired by their experience that they’re now trying to turn their home into a permanent youth outreach center. To do so, though, they’d need to move into a bigger, but still affordable, rental house in the Marysville area. You can learn more about their cause by visiting their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/apch.wa/info