MONTICELLO, Ill. (WCIA) -- The late 80’s were not easy for Sandy Kline. Her father died in 1987. She was in a car accident which killed her grandfather a year and a half after that. Then two months later, her mother was in a crash on I-74. She also died.
Three of the most important people in her life gone within 17 months. Kline was drained, depressed, and was looking for a light in the darkness. She found it in the hearts of children and it makes her an Angel Among Us.
It didn’t take Sandy Kline long to find what she needed after her parents and grandfather died.
"It seemed every place where we turned there was an advertisement for foster parents," she remembered.
Her husband, Joe, and three children were on board. But Kline is a nurse and knew she could help the hard to place.
"There were so many kids born addicted to drugs and special needs."
And they all found a home here. For ten years, the Klines welcomed children with the most severe challenges.
"It makes them feel, number one, that they’re wanted," Kline said. "Number two, that somebody cares enough that no matter how they got started or what their life was like before. That doesn’t have to define who they are."
The family always took care of the most children allowed. That meant five foster kids at a time. Their biological daughter, Marcena Shockley, shared her parents and her home.
"It takes a special heart to do it to begin with and to go through the amount of kids who have come in and out," said Shockley. "They’re definitely something."
They took in 43 foster children, including one who died from congenital problems and another with kidney disease.
Kline recalled, "Three times a week for ten years Joe drove him from here to Bloomington for dialysis and sat there for four hours while he had it done and back."
The Klines adopted him and four others. Derrick and Hailey still live here. The average person would think this is overwhelming. Kline is not your average person but she would never say that.
"If you’re a parent and you have compassion for these kids, you just do what you need to take care of them."
Now it’s Kline who could use some taking care of. Her husband Joe, of 42 years, died in December, from complications after surgery.
Through tears, Kline said, "Doesn’t take much somedays. I’m trying. Nighttime is hard."
Shockley is grateful he was able to walk her down the aisle just months before.
"Some days are harder."
Derrick is also processing his dad’s death but told me he’s ready to help his mom.
"It’s time for me to step up," he said. "It’s not about me. It’s about her."
A woman who has dedicated her life to helping children and who hopes others will take a look at doing the same thing.
"People say I couldn’t do that. I can’t. Yeah you can. It’s like taking care of your own children really."
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