The family of Dave and Sally Sauerbeck of Louisville was featured recently in a Lexington magazine, Exceptional Family KY. Sally Sauerbeck is a former Whitesburg resident, and is the daughter of Florine Smith and the late Herbert Smith.
The Sauerbecks have reared more than 100 foster children, almost all of whom are medically fragile. In the article, Sally Sauerbeck says, “Love for others motivates us to take risks and surmount challenges that we would never dare take on otherwise. Sometimes life’s most important choices are made with the heart, not the brain.”
The couple, who have been married 33 years, began taking in foster children right after their marriage, and their four sons grew up with foster siblings.
She is a registered nurse and her husband is a physician assistant. Of the children they have reared, only one has died. The boy, who had leukemia, had been living with his family in a car.
Living with them now are an 11-year-old adopted son with a congenital malformation of his legs and tumors in his liver and lungs, a 7-year-old foster daughter with multisystem anomalies, and a 3-year-old foster son who has received a multiple organ transplant.
Sally Sauerbeck says, “Kids know how to read your heart. They know when they are loved enough for someone to be there, someone to advocate for their needs. This is necessary so they can reach their ultimate potential. This is the role of foster parents.”
There is an increasing number of medically fragile children coming into foster care, she says, particularly children with drug-related issues. Some children are born with a drug addiction, and some have been neglected because of their parents’ drug use.
She challenges others to contact social services and get information on becoming a medical fragile foster home, saying, “Let your heart assist you with a very important life decision.”