Ben and Matthew had plenty of healing to do when they arrived at Suzie and Jeff Blakes' 29-acre hobby farm in Becker, Minn.
Ben, now 16, came in 2000. He had never carved a pumpkin or experienced a "real" Christmas. (His name and the Blakes' other foster son have been changed for the boys' protection.)
That's why Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota asked the Blakes to open their home to Ben.
The couple had been certified for treatment foster care, which provides children with much more than basic food and shelter, says mental health practitioner Lisa Meyer of the LSS St. Cloud office. "We view foster parents as teachers and their homes as healing environments," she says. "They're in the best position to bring about healing in kids."
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