75 year old Woman Fostered More than 600 Children over 50 years

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan

Linda Herring always loved the idea of a big family. But perhaps not even her own parents realized how she would make that dream come true.

old woman

While the USA boasts of some of the best private adoption agencies in Florida and even beyond, finding big-hearted parents willing to adopt can be difficult. And yet, over the last 50 years, Linda fostered over 600 children, converting her home in Johnson County, Iowa, into a safe space for every child she came across who had nowhere else to go.

"My best friend was doing foster care for teenage girls and I thought, 'Well, that would be nice to do the same,' but I wanted little kids. So, I talked to the Department of Human Services and agreed to take kids with medical needs."
- Linda Herring

And she stayed true to her word. Irrespective of age, gender or special needs, Linda regularly traveled to pick up and care for foster children who needed a home. Working as a night custodian at a nearby school, Herring ran a daycare for local families during the day while also volunteering as a first responder for 50 years.

She did not stop there, though. She would even go on to adopt 3 of those foster children. Two of those adopted children had severe medical needs and are fully dependent on others for care.

"I appreciate being adopted even more today as a parent then I did when I was a child. I'm forever grateful for the life I was given. She and Dad have both taught me that family isn't determined by blood, it's who you have in your life to love."
- Anthony Herring, 40 years old, adopted at age 3 by Linda Herring

There must be indeed be something about passing things down via genetics because four of her biological children have fostered children and three of them have adopted as well.
Even today, the house walls are adorned with professional photographs of the children who lived there over the years, a personal touch Linda gave to ensure the children knew they ‘were home’.

At 75, Linda’s health no longer allows her to foster children but she does not suffer from loneliness – her home invariably receives photos and cards from the 600 odd children she fostered in addition to the occasional visit. 

old woman with family members

She was always available and ready for a child in need. These kids were usually taken from a traumatic situation and she'd take them in, provide a warm bed, clean clothes, warm meals, and love." 
- Anthony Herring, adopted son.

In 2019, Linda Herring was honored by the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, with a resolution of appreciation.

declaration form

"Linda mostly fostered young children with special medical needs and kept bins of clothes in her garage, stacked to the ceiling, labeled by size and gender. No one had to worry about a child going without clothes at Linda's, even if they arrived with nothing but what they're wearing." the resolution read.

Author's note:

Since 2017, every year, I take up the #BlogchatterA2Z challenge and focus on showcasing lovely real-life heroes from around the worldThe aim is to remind you that there is still plenty of good human beings all around you... to inspire you to smile once more.

Want more stories of compassion? 

I have Hundreds of 'Heroes of Kindness' to brighten your day here. Earlier editions can be viewed from the links below:

2017 edition (Articles - 40, Heroes - 67)
2018 edition (Articles - 34, Heroes - 52)
2019 edition (Articles - 31, Heroes - 42)
2020 edition (Articles - 30, Heroes - 64)

The 2020 Edition is also available as a book on Kindle too, if you want it that wayyy! (IndiaUS)

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Let me know what you think.

  1. Noble souls exist ....that's why there is still greenery on earth

    (Earlier Jaish Writes)

  2. Very inspiring. She not only fostered children but also taught them the value of a helping hand

  3. Very inspiring, I salute to Linda Herring for her kindness. Thanks Roshan for sharing beautiful post.

  4. What an exemplary woman. Linda herring needs to be felicitated by the kids she raised. 600!! whoa..what a huge number. Kudos to her.

  5. Such an amazing inspirational life. Your posts make one believe in humanity more.
    Deepika Sharma

  6. Kudos Linda Herring, for spreading so much of positivity. Not just her, its so nice to see her children also following her steps. And so nice that cards and photos keep coming in, as a note of gratitude.

  7. This is something really inspiring to know about her. Thanks a lot for sharing this story it really touched

  8. She is an epitome of love, empathy, and compassion. The picture says it all!! Happy family full of the feelings of gratitude. Hats off to the level of commitment these inspiring people hold.

  9. Wow, 600 kids...its amazing. That too, her preferring the special needs kids. Who would do that. Amazing lady she is.

  10. Linda is such a role model, wish more and more people think like her today and always.Inspring!

  11. May be kindness is the only God we can see. It is always a bliss to read such posts of hope and compassion.😊👏🙏🎉

  12. That's such an amazing soul. Hats off to people like her.

    Ruchi nasa https://thevagabond.me

  13. Another inspiring post. Linda is such a role model.

  14. Wow at the age of 75, linda is doing such an amazing job to provide support the children and helping them in need. each story is inspiring and motivate us to do better things in life.

  15. I read this story a few days back in my news feed. Linda Herring is a wonderful lady who is the epitome of humanity.

  16. OMG.. This is amazing. A big salute to this woman who is selflessly providing shelter to these children. She us an inspiration.

  17. I am speechless. World really needs more Like Ms. Linda. When child abduction, trafficking, child abuse are the major concern. Ms. Linda gave all her life in making sure no child should remain homeless. No words, I take a bow!


  18. She's such an amazing woman! Homeless children often resort to crime to merely survive and she gave them a home and a happy environment to grow up in.

  19. You need ome heart and a lot of patience to adopt or foster kids who aren't your own. Truly not everyone can look after kids and kids in foster care generally have more issues than most kids so hats off to this brave and kind lady.

  20. Wow, what a wonderful gift of the heart Linda gave to so many children. And now, she is shown so much well-deserved love. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

  21. Amazing! i would like to meet her and showing gratitude. more power to her

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  23. Glad to know about Linda and her deed

  24. Wow very inspiring story . Linda is doing a wonderful job. She not only fostered children but also taught them the values


  25. Kudos to Linda and her resilience! Such souls do exist and what amazes me is when we complain to manage our own lives, they fulfil others lives with so much sunshine . Truly inspiring.

  26. Amazing to see such noble women to take charge

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