By Kathy L. Collins
Seeing the Randolph family at community events and seeing lots of smiling happy faces of children surrounding Gary and Jocelyn Randolph of FishHawk Ranch, one begins to wonder just how many kids they have? Well, the number changes, as the family is a foster family and has a different number of children depending upon the current needs. The Randolph’s have three children of their own, two are fully grown and they also have an adoptive daughter. But, they also have foster children, up to three at any given time that are placed temporarily or long-term until a permanent solution can be found for the kids.
Gary, a disabled veteran said, “We took in our first foster child in 2006 because we wanted to adopt.” Gary added, “The need is so great in Florida. So many children in Hillsborough County need a good home.” Gary added, “You have to be prepared for the children to stay with you for a long time, and it is hard when they leave.”
The Randolph’s have had children stay with them for one day and for as long as three years. “I know that as soon as one leaves, we will immediately get four to five calls asking us to take in more children.”
Gary and Jocelyn are also involved in the community- Gary will be the incoming PTA President at FishHawk Creek Elementary. They are also very active in their church as founders of 242 On The Move Ministry and run Pure Power Productions, a DJ and multi-media event service.
One of the questions that they are frequently asked is “how do you let the children go?” Gary responds, “It is very difficult and hard thing to do. But I have to rely on my faith and know that the child is God’s child, and God will take care of the child.”
The Randolphs have never regretted becoming foster parents and would encourage others to consider becoming a foster parent.
If you are interested in more details, contact caseworker Debi Williams at 471-0006 or visit www.eckerdcbc-c13.org.