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Foster parents need working refrigerator, gifts for three kids

Light one candle

Longtime foster parents who opened their home to abused kids now find they could use help themselves this holiday season.

The Southern Oregon couple decided two years ago to adopt their foster children, a girl, 8, and a boy, 10. The kids join the couple's biological son, who is 7.

Despite their adopted children's physical, emotional and behavioral problems, the family was happy to tackle the task, according to Stephanie Mauer at the Southern Oregon Child Study and Treatment Center, the agency that treats the children. The kids are home-schooled because they didn't do well in a normal classroom environment.

I have never met a more caring and positive individual as this mother, Mauer says. She has a total 'can do' attitude and is determined that this will all work out.

Recently, however, the kids' father was diagnosed with leukemia and began chemotherapy treatments. Disability payments end this month, and medical costs are mounting, including a weekly health insurance premium of &

36;67 and co-payments for office visits and prescription drugs.

With money so scarce, the parents hope for some holiday cheer for the children. The 8-year-old girl is taking medication that causes her to gain weight and badly needs new clothes, Mauer says. She wears a girls' size 14 clothes and size — shoes. More than anything, her mom says, she wants a pair of cowboy boots.

The boys wear sizes 8-10 and 10-12 and could use sturdy play gear.

The kids also are fascinated with the boomerang helicopters they see at the mall. The girls enjoys horses; the boys like rescue vehicles and games.

Mauer adds that the family would also welcome a refrigerator in good working order. Theirs causes all of their food to freeze and is too expensive to fix.

Donations can be made to the Southern Oregon Child Study and Treatment Center, 358 S. Oakdale Ave., Medford. Or call Mauer at 776-0497.

Light One Candle is an annual Mail Tribune feature that focuses on the need of a single person, organization or agency during the holidays. For more information, call reporter JoNel Aleccia at 776-4465 or e-mail her at