Our Town family fills the need of belonging

By Anna Carrera

Published 08/05 2014 04:31PM

Updated 08/05 2014 07:10PM

WESTVILLE -- When most of us leave home, we pack up a suitcase with things we might need. But some kids around Central Illinois don't have that option. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera shows us how a woman from Our Town is trying to change that.

If you saw the outside of Darcy Davis' home last week, you might think her entire extended family was going on vacation.

"We have eight total children now," said Davis. "We have five biological children and we just adopted two teenagers and are in the process of adopting a third."

But all the backpacks, gym bags and suitcases are empty. These simple things we use to carry stuff from one place to the next will mean a lot more to their new owners; foster children.

"The kids want something that belongs to them," said Davis. "And it's something they can take with them, and know that it's theirs, and they get to keep it, and it's not going to be taken from them."

In the past couple years, their family has fostered about a dozen kids.

"It kind of gives you a snapshot of what the rest of the world is like and what other people have to deal with and what other people have to grow up with and it's pretty humbling," said Kaleb Smith, Davis' 17-year old son.  

Even though Davis' home has become the final destination for some, she knows many others are still on the move.

"No child asks to be in the situation that they're in," said Davis. "No child asks to be displaced from their home, so that's hard enough on them. To have their things put into garbage bags, where trash goes, I just, I couldn't imagine."

That's why she started collecting suitcases last month. Now the bags are on the move too. They're heading for kids who will dream of using them for a vacation or even just to settle into a home of their own.

Davis started the collection in honor of two of her kids. They finalized their adoption this summer. She would love to make it a yearly event.

Davis ended up with more than 100 pieces of luggage. People from all over Central Illinois donated. She and her son, Kaleb, took them all to Cunningham Children's Home, in Urbana. That's where their foster kids came from.They know the bags will be a big deal for the kids there.

"We're just so grateful for the Davis family and other families like the Davis family who have taken in, in most cases, teenagers or slightly younger than teenagers and say, 'Hey. This is your home and when you need luggage from now on, it's because we're going to go on vacation and not because you're going to have to go somewhere else to live.' That's huge," said Cunningham Children's Home president Marlin Livingston. 

Livingston says there are more than 500 children in foster care in the area. He hopes this helps spread the word about the need for adoptive families.

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