WTOC Senior Active: Karin Van Name - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

WTOC Senior Active: Karin Van Name

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Karin Van Name Karin Van Name

Karin Van Name's days are all pleasurable walks, trips to the pool and playtime, at 81 a new mother again, just as she has been for the last 23 years.

The Hilton Head Island resident has been a foster mother to 73 children during that time, often infants, but always young children in need of a safe, caring home.

"If you do day sitting, you have to give them back and it's not the same,'' said Van Name. "This is like having my own baby over and over and over again.''

But Van Name is not just a playmate. She becomes a parent to each child, touching, shaping and sometimes even saving young lives.

"I just try to keep them safe,'' she says. "They come from situations where they weren't safe and when they're here I never take my eyes off them. So they're safe and they know it. They don't remember it, but it makes a difference, it does. They leave here happy.''

A new foster child might arrive at any time, so Van Name's home is always baby ready with multiple cribs, a closet full of baby clothes and more toys than a preschool.

And she never knows how long they'll stay, whether it's for days or longer.

"I had one little boy for four years,'' says Van Name. "And then my daughter adopted him because we couldn't part with him.''

She estimates 70 percent of her fosters have been adopted, including three girls by her friends James and Robin Freeman, of Estill.

"They're all doing well,'' says Van Name. "And they all have a good life that they wouldn't have had.''

She has heard similar happy stories from several of the kids who once filled her days and her heart, including a now 15-year old who she spoke to for the first time in 14 years two months ago.

"I still get chills when I think about it,'' she says. "I got a call saying he wanted to talk to me.''

That feeling, and those results, are motivation to keep bringing babies into her home and her life.

"Whenever I tell people what I do, they ask ‘are you crazy? You could be doing this and this.'" she says. "But I don't want to do that. I'm doing exactly what I want to do and enjoying it.''

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