Christy Irons doesn’t just pay lip service to nurturing abused and neglected kids. The daughter of longtime foster parents and the wife of an adoptee, it was almost inevitable that Christy would do her part. A member of CR’s Advisory Council, the mother of nine and her husband have adopted eight of their children, including three with special needs. When she speaks about fostering, it is with experience, passion — and a good dose of humor.
Why did you join the CR Advisory Council?
Because the organization forces governments to do better than they claim they can. Thanks to CR, my home state of South Carolina is establishing workload limits for caseworkers and is ending the use of motels and child welfare offices for overnight placements, with more changes on the horizon. The legislative route takes forever; CR gets results a little more quickly, which I appreciate.
Your funniest day:
My now 13-year-old was 4 when he first came to us. He was an excellent swearer. We were working on manners; he yelled out from the bathroom, “Hey lady, come in here and wipe my a– please.” I explained that this wasn’t appropriate language. His response: “But I said please!”
With nine kids you need a big vehicle. We drive a Transit with an extra row of seats. It’s not that hard to manage, but it is tall. One day I ripped an awning off of a store…
How do you cope?
I am an amazing scheduler. We have three whiteboards: chore list, morning schedule and money earned. Also, I have great friends — every few weeks we meet at the Mexican restaurant and sit around for hours. And my parents are very helpful. They fostered for so long, the things the kids do aren’t so shocking to them.
As this month’s CR Insider, what do you want the public to know?
We, the human race, are offering little more to these kids than our inactive horror. So many adults are capable of helping but don’t. And these kids are not crying out for mansions and ponies. Or fancy phones or designer clothing. These voiceless children simply want humane treatment. So I’m always, always asking for more foster and adoptive parents.