Linda Ebron has dedicated much of her life to serving youth in challenging situations. A career in social work eventually led her to foster care. “Aunt Cookie,” as the kids call her, and her husband Donnell (Uncle Don) have been providing therapeutic foster care for teenagers for 20 years. They enjoyed the opportunity to provide a loving, supportive home to teens and to help them succeed.
Recently, Linda and Donnell got a call from Pressley Ridge asking them to consider taking in a young set of twins, they knew it would be different than parenting teens, but they never hesitated. Then a year later, another call came. The twins’ younger siblings, also twins, needed a home and wanted to come live with the Ebrons, as well. They had a chance to reunite this family, and they couldn’t turn them away knowing that these children’s lives could be changed forever.
Linda is an avid recruiter for fostering with Pressley Ridge. “I have been with other agencies before when I first started out. I can say the education, support and understanding you get [from Pressley Ridge] is remarkable. They know that everything is not just written in a book all the time. This is real life. The children come into your home and everything changes.”
Having fostered countless teenagers, Linda and Donnell have plenty of advice to share and wish more people would consider the benefits of helping teens. Raising teens, especially those in treatment foster care, takes a lot of understanding, but Donnell believes it’s all worth it. “Some of these kids come from a real troubled past, and they don’t know what to expect. They’ve been let down a lot, so you have to be there for them. That’s the most important thing. Once you see the difference you make in a child’s life, you can’t help but to continue.”
Their kids have gone on to graduate from high school and college and are now raising families of their own. Even so, they still come back to Aunt Cookie and Uncle Don, who will always be their family.
Linda and Donnell, who have two grown children of their own, as well as two grandchildren, are now in the process of adopting the siblings. After two years, they are used to the busyness of raising four kids who are only eleven months apart. The twins couldn’t be happier to officially become part of the Ebron family, saying “It’s a great experience to have another chance to have a great family.”
“Some of these kids come from a real troubled past, and they don’t know what to expect. They’ve been let down a lot, so you have to be there for them. That’s the most important thing. Once you see the difference you make in a child’s life, you can’t help but to continue.”Donnell Ebron