Some teens, because there are so few foster families willing to take them in, end up in residential care.
"You can imagine that's not a very fun time if you're in high school, got removed, then you're put into a residential facility through no fault of your own," she said.
Iowa KidsNet's goal is to keep children within 20 miles of their original home so they can continue to have contact with their biological families. But often, especially with sibling groups and teenagers, this doesn't happen and the child is placed in a home three or four counties away.
Fusing a family
The children coming into the Hamm home haven't grown up with the same standards, ethical values, religious beliefs, nationalities or cultures.
"It's like a melting pot but, you know, our world is a melting pot," Angie said.
Strangely enough, Terry said, taking in several children is better than only one or two, because the children can play with each other, entertain each other and form a cohesive group.
"It's nice if you have some outfielders when you're playing softball," Angie laughed.
While the Hamms instill their own values in the children they take in, they remind them that they're allowed to have their own.
"What we try to do is we really try to provide a safe place for the children to live, we feed them good food and we throw in a little bit of fun, too, until they can be reunited," Angie said. "That's our philosophy of foster care."
There has been a shift in interaction with the biological parents in the last decade. Today, biological parents interact much more with the foster families. The push for this interaction is an effort to keep the family connected and "part of the child's identity," Willemsen said.