A Warm Bed for Every Child

Apr 15, 2024

A Warm Bed for Every Child

By Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer

In one of the homes at the Geary Foster Foundations’ property, a foster mom sat one of the little girls down for a talk. The girl had accidentally broken her bed through some rough treatment. Her foster mom explained how it was important to take care of what was provided for them in the home.

“I’m sorry,” the little girl said. “I’ve never had a bed.”

The heart at the mission of Geary Foster Foundations is to provide a safe home and a warm bed for children in foster care. The mission began with a conversation between Susie Black Holamon and her foster sister from decades ago, Colleen Geary Patton.

As a child, Susie had been placed in independent foster care. With four siblings and the rudimentary foster system of the 1960s, it was a miracle for her and three of her siblings to be placed together. That miracle came through Joe and Charlotte Geary who helped establish a faith-based foster home in Dallas that offered stability, permanency, encouragement, and guidance.

The Geary Foster Foundations is built on those principles.

Susie remained in the foster home until she graduated high school. Because of the loving family environment, Susie hardly felt she was a foster child after her parents passed away.

“I didn’t feel any different than anyone else,” Susie says. “I did feel like people misunderstood foster children, that they are trouble. I did have a sense of that, but not the extreme children feel today. They are labeled as trouble, but they aren’t. They come from troubled environments.”

Susie and Colleen had the seed of an idea to start a ranch for teenage girls. But after visiting Peppers Ranch Fosters in Guthrie, Oklahoma, Susie knew they needed to pivot and focus on providing housing for foster families to take in up to six foster children.

“We raise funds to build each home,” Susie says. “And have licensed parents in each home. They operate as individual foster homes but are in a community of like-minded people. The beauty of what’s going on right now is we see them helping each other. That’s key to our success, having the right parents who care totally about these kids.”

Texoma Health Foundation’s grant funding is going towards building this strong, healthy community for foster children to thrive. A new sports court is underway, and a garden with raised beds for each family is thriving along with a chicken coop and over a dozen laying hens. There's a small flock of goats tended by the 4-H foster mom enthusiast. On the property, there is Gigi's Closet where clothing donations and a small children's library reside.

Susie and the Geary Foster Foundations are currently building their third home. The property can accommodate eight homes and dreams of a community center and a pavilion next to the park for birthday parties—anything to bring the foster kids together in a family setting.

“The homes have an open floor plan where everyone can sit down and eat at the table at the same time,” Susie says. “Sometimes, it’s the first time for these kids to sit down at a dinner table in a family environment. That’s our goal: Give them a little family for however long they are with us. They go to church together, to school together, do recreation together. It just warms my heart to be out there and see these kids running and playing and being in a community they feel a part of.”