UMCH Wishes Foster Parents Robert and Gloria Osborn A Happy Retirement

Robert and Gloria Osborn
UMCH Foster Parents


Robert and Gloria Osborn have lovingly fostered more than 75 children over the past 19 years. The Osborn’s are deservingly retiring soon and The Children’s Home wishes this special couple a very happy retirement. The Children’s Home mission is to restore children and families from trauma through Jesus Christ. Our mission cannot be fulfilled without the Osborn’s dedication to fostering, along with our several other wonderful UMCH foster parents.


Today marks the last day of National Foster Care Month. The Osborn’s were featured in the spring 2017 edition Signposts that highlights three long-standing foster parents and their dedication to the ministry of fostering. As The Children’s Home wishes Robert and Gloria Osborn a happy retirement, we treasure their parting words of wisdom as shared in Signposts.


Robert and Gloria Osborn apparently like big numbers. They’ve been married for 45 years, have been members of the Ray of Hope Church for 30 years, and have seen 76 foster children come and go out of their Ellenwood home over the course of the last 19 years. The last one just left, when the child transitioned to another family for the purpose of adoption. But that doesn’t mean Robert and Gloria, who are both retired, are going to sit back and rest on their laurels. They continue to be active with The Children’s Home, supporting other foster parents, participating in training sessions, and, most importantly, serving as an example for future foster families as well.


What called you to become foster parents?

Gloria: My mother was a foster parent. I was young, and at the time, we lived in a two-bedroom house. The foster child was a little boy, and after a certain age, he had to leave because he had to have a separate bedroom. It hurt me when he left, and I never forgot that. I also had an aunt who was a foster parent, and we grew up knowing her foster kids. I think she had like 38 different kids.


What is the most challenging thing about being a foster parent?

Gloria: When the children first come, after being taken away from their home, they’re scared, and it takes you a while to get them comfortable. The saddest thing is the details of how they ended up coming into foster care and the things that were going on in the home, and hoping that their parents get their lives together.


What is the most rewarding part of being a foster parent?

Robert: When the kids come up to you and hug you and they tell you that they love you. And seeing them either going back home or going to be adopted.


How have your family, friends, co-workers, etc. reacted to your fostering all these years?

Gloria: The first thing they always say is that they couldn’t do this, that they would get too attached. And you do get attached. But our calling is to take care of them until they find a place for them. You get in your mind that you’re going to give them the best care and get them as stable as possible so that they’ll be able to move on to a better home. And you’re so busy trying to get them up to speed, because they’re so behind on where they should be in school, manners, and just all kinds of stuff, when they either get to go home or they’re adopted, you’re glad for them. And you know they’re going there being as stable as possible and being able to love the people.


What advice would you give to potential foster parents?

Robert: It completely changes your life. Gloria: You realize that there are so many children that are in dire need of help and in dangerous situations and that you can help them, and you can love them, and let them go on to a permanent situation knowing that you did the best you could for them. It’s a calling, for sure. God has put this in your mind. So you do what needs to be done to help them.


Do you have any additional thoughts regarding fostering you’d like to share?

Gloria: It’s an awesome experience. It’s amazing to see how the kids just blossom, and it’s like, wow, I helped do this.



FAQs: The United Methodist Children’s Home Sale of Campus



What is The United Methodist Children’s Home? What does The Children’s Home do?

The United Methodist Children’s Home (UMCH) works every day toward its mission ‘to restore children and families from trauma through Jesus Christ.’ Since 1973, UMCH has cared for over 6,000 children in safe and loving foster-care homes; it provides safe housing for at-risk young adults and prepares them to make positive life decisions and become productive, independent, citizens; and it strengthens and preserves at-risk families through safe housing and support services. Today UMCH serves over 240 children and adults per day in 40 counties across North Georgia, and it delivered over 56,000 days of care in 2016.  For more information visit


Why did you sell?

There is a child welfare crisis in our state. 13,000 kids are in the state’s custody. 150 kids sleep in hotel rooms with strangers each month due to a lack of foster homes. UMCH turns away 40 kids a week. All of these situations that kids face call upon us to do more. Knowing these facts, the UMCH Board voted in January to release assets tied to the property by selling its Decatur campus. This decision will help us reach more children and families in need. Funds from the sale will be used to open new offices across North Georgia, and more effectively take all four of our programs to many more children and families in communities across our state.


Who is the buyer?

City of Decatur (CoD)


What price paid?

The sale price is $40 million


Were there other offers? (or) Why did you sell to the City? (or) Why didn’t you list the property?

The property was never listed. Though several other parties expressed interest, the only offer received was from the City of Decatur (CoD). And we believe that the City’s offer is ideal for our mission, given the combination of their market-rate purchase price, their commitment to honor our history by preserving the chapel and founder’s burial, as well as naming campus administration building for our longtime CEO, and their responsibility to consider the public’s interests as they decide how to use the land.


Are you closing?

UMCH is not closing. Rather, we are expanding our services to better reach children and families who are in great need across North Georgia. We maintain our commitment to have a presence and offer services in metropolitan Atlanta.


Where are residents going?

Current UMCH residents will enjoy continuous and uninterrupted services provided by UMCH. Current residents will relocate to safe and appropriate housing primarily in DeKalb and Fulton counties; and they will be actively involved in helping plan this process.


How will the money be used?

The proceeds from the sale will be used to serve more children and families who face trauma and seek restoration. And it will be used so we can expand our ministries into communities we are not serving today, such as Augusta, Rome, Dalton, LaGrange, Griffin, and other areas. Proceeds from the sale will serve all of our ministries…our Foster Care ministry, our Family Housing ministry, and our Independent Living and Transitional Living ministries, in metro Atlanta, and in new communities as well.


What will happen to the Decatur campus?

The sale includes preservation of the sacred, historic Moore Chapel, and the gravesite of UMCH’s founder, Rev. Dr. Jesse Boring. The sale also creates a preservation covenant honoring the unparalleled tenure of Bev Cochran, former CEO of  The Children’s Home, who led the ministry for 43 years, from 1968 to 2012. The City of Decatur and The Children’s Home agreed to name the existing administration building at 500 South Columbia Drive – which will remain in use by the City – in memory of Cochran, touching the lives of thousands of UMCH alumni, their children and grandchildren. The City of Decatur will, of course, determine plans for the remainder of the property. 


What about the history on that property?

We care deeply about our 143 years of history on our Decatur campus. The lives of countless children were changed by the loving staff and volunteers who worked here over the decades. That love will continue, and will expand across North Georgia. The City is fully supporting our desire to preserve the chapel and the founder’s burial site as a way to honor our history. We are very pleased with the City’s unwavering commitment to that. Honoring our longtime CEO by naming the administration building in his memory is another nice gesture.


What will happen to the [trees, lake, lawns, buildings, etc.] on campus?

CoD will decide the future of the property’s existing structures and natural resources.


Who can I call with my [question, concern, complaint, idea, etc.]?

Feel free to please call the UMCH information line 404-327-5867


2016: A Year of Great Impacts

At The United Methodist Children’s Home, we envision a world where every child is raised in a loving, compassionate, and nurturing home.  With your generous support in 2016, we came so much closer to achieving that goal.  Whether you are a volunteer, donor, foster parent, or simply helped spread the word of our work, we are grateful!


2016 Impacts Web Graphic



Join us in 2017 and together, we can help even more children and families in need.
Foster Your family can provide that loving home that thousands of kids long for. Take advantage of the joy that comes from fostering through the Children’s Home. We will support you every step of the way.


Volunteer You have talents and compassion. The Children’s Home has meaningful ways for you to make a difference.


Give Consider becoming a monthly sustainer, ensuring the Children’s Home can grow to serve more kids in crisis. Check out creative ways to give including asset-based gifts and in-kind gifts.



UMCH Family Housing: Holiday Inspiration From the Gibson and Hector Families

Photography courtesy of John Haugaard

Meet the Gibson Family


“We couldn’t have imaged this holiday season being as happy as it is.”


Mr. and Mrs. Gibson and their three young children – two girls and a boy, could never have imagined this Christmas would turn out like it has. When they knew they needed a little help, the Gibsons did their research and found themselves welcomed at The United Methodist Children’s Home Family Housing program.


“We have the most amazing yard where the kids feel free to play,” said Mrs. Gibson.


Not only are the Gibsons thankful for having a safe place to stay at The Children’s Home, they have graciously been able to take advantage of other supports and services as well.


“The Christmas shopping event hosted on Dec. 10 was a real God-send,” said Mrs. Gibson. “They provided more than I could have dreamed of, not to mention entertainment for the kids and visits with Santa. And – I couldn’t believe it – our case manager even found an American Girl doll for our daughter!”


Since they’ve moved in, the Gibsons have been very busy with the monthly life skills workshops provided as a part the Family Housing program. They have been able to work with their case manager, Brooke Babbitt, to improve their credit and pay off past debts that hindered them from being able to obtain housing on their own. Additionally, the Family Housing program has provided the Gibsons with the opportunity to develop a budget and begin saving money for when they are ready to transition into independent housing.


“It is an honor for me to work with our families and just a delight to see them grow, succeed, and then to become independent once again,” said Babbitt. “Their successes are our successes.”


While working towards their goals, the Gibsons have attended social activities UMCH provides its families as well. They attended Fam Fest in October, and a Hawks basketball game courtesy of the team. “We have learned so much, but are also getting to spend time together and having fun as a family,” Mrs. Gibson added.


Mr. Gibson is simply grateful that The Children’s Home has made their lives. Better than it was, in his own words. “We’ve gone through some hardship this year, and couldn’t have imaged this holiday season being as happy as it is.”


The Gibsons, this holiday season, would like everyone to know that “this program really is such a great support and wonderful opportunity to give you the time and the breather to get back on your feet, and feel comfortable while you’re doing it.”


We at The Children’s Home cannot express how grateful we are to be able to support families like the Gibsons. There’s no better time than now to give to The Children’s Home, when our end-of-year matching campaign will double your gift. Please go online to help families like the Gibsons transform their lives. Your gift this holiday season will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $96,750 through Dec. 31.



Meet The Hector Family


“Being here is my Christmas gift.”


The United Methodist Children’s Home welcomed Precious Hector and her three daughters, ages 6, 9, and 12, to its Family Housing program early December.


“My grandmother always said that women are the first iteration of God that our children know,” says Ms. Hector. “Everything we say, breathe, create — they learn from us. I teach my daughters how important it is to pray and have a strong relationship with God. And what I have instilled in them, they have given back to me.”


The faith that surrounds them has already been the greatest gift Ms. Hector has given to her children, as well as what they return to her. “There are times when I may get a little down and troubled about a situation, and it’s one of my daughters that reassures me with, ‘Oh mom, we’re going to be alright. God loves you.”


Though the family only moved to The Children’s Home on December 1, Ms. Hector has jumped right in to the support services offered through the Family Housing program. She’s already developed a budget and financial plan to improve her credit with her case manager, Brooke Babbitt, who, Ms. Hector says, “is just awesome.”


“She’s real. It’s rare that you meet someone that is so real. And for me to be able to talk to someone that really listens and understands what I’ve been through is priceless.”


Ms. Hector is happy to share that she was just hired for her second part-time job at a hotel, where she has been working in the evening while training to be a tax preparer during the day. She’s been a tax preparer for the last few years, but has now passed the certification that will hopefully turn that work into a full-time job. Her hotel supervisor has suggested that she may have qualifications for management there, as well, so it is promising that opportunities are opening up for Ms. Hector and her family.


As for being at The Children’s Home at Christmas time, Ms. Hector says she feels blessed. “I feel very favored by God. It’s been a rough year, and now I have been given the opportunity to get myself together financially, spiritually and physically.


“Being here is my Christmas gift.”


There’s no better time than now to help families like the Hectors transform their lives. If you go online through Dec. 31 and make a donation to The Children’s Home, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $96,750.

As we celebrate Christ’s birth, we celebrate a church that gives to The Children’s Home with each baptism

The congregation of Sugarloaf United Methodist Church in Gwinnett County holds, on average, 15 to 20 baptisms a year. And while that in and of itself is a celebration for the life of the church, it is also an incredible blessing for The Children’s Home.


That’s because the congregation at Sugarloaf recognizes that while most babies who are baptized in their church sanctuary are surrounded by family and loved ones, there are other children who are in need of the love and care that is provided through the ministry of The Children’s Home. So they take up a collection after each baptism.


Baptismal reflections at Sugarloaf UMC. Pictures courtesy of Sugarloaf UMC.


“This is our opportunity to support the work of The Children’s Home and make a lasting difference,” said Rev. Matthew Mitchell, who enthusiastically embraced the tradition started by Sugarloaf UMC’s former pastor, Rev. Stuart Greene. “We only sponsor local ministries, and this is a very significant one for us. Being able to give regularly to The Children’s Home is very much a part of who we are.”


Started at Smyrna First UMC, Rev. Greene began this regular offering for The Children’s Home at Sugarloaf UMC in 2008. “By encouraging people to give to children in need in honor of the baby being baptized, we avoided taking ‘yet another offering’ which people grow weary of,” said Rev. Greene. “No one passed the plate; there were no commitment forms to sign. Anybody who wanted to give any amount would simply walk to the front before leaving the sanctuary and place the money or check on the altar. Many of the donations came from extended family members, who may or may not be members of the church, but who want to ensure their baby is adequately honored.”


Today, offerings taken after a baptism at the church total $500 to $1,000. “It’s always exciting to watch little kids to elderly folks, long-time members and new members visibly respond so emotionally and enthusiastically while they are putting their donation in the collection basket,” added Rev. Mitchell. “We know through these donations, and especially because of the great stewardship of UMCH, we are making a real impact.”


And yet the church’s connection to The Children’s Home goes deeper still. Currently Sugarloaf UMC has families who have fostered through The Children’s Home, according to Rev. Mitchell, and in one case, the fostering led to adoption.


Says Rev. Dave Allen Grady, Director of Church Relations at The Children’s Home, “Baptism is such a powerfully meaningful time for a family, both the family of the person being baptized and the family of the church. The Children’s Home is incredibly lucky that Sugarloaf UMC extends their family’s blessings to our family.”

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