Linda at her party, celebrating five decades as a foster parent (Picture: @JohnsonCountyIA/Twitter; Linzee N Tonya/Facebook)

Linda Herring has made a huge impact on hundreds of children.

The 75-year-old started fostering over 50 years ago and in that time, she had looked after more than 600 kids.

When her local Department of Human Services threw a party to celebrate, there was barely space to stand because so many kids of all ages wanted to be there to show their appreciation.

Linda, from Johnson County, Iowa, decided to start fostering after she spoke to a friend at the time who was looking after two teenage girls.

She decided she wanted to care for younger children and those with medical needs.

Alongside her husband Bob, they took in kids from across the area and they were known for never turning a child away, no matter their age, gender or special needs.

Linda has five children and then went on to adopt three of the children she had fostered.

Her son Anthony, now 39, was placed with the family when he was six months old and was officially adopted when he was three years old.

He told CNN: ‘I appreciate being adopted even more today as a parent then I did when I was a child.

‘I’m forever grateful for the life I was given. She and Dad have both taught me that family isn’t determined by blood, it’s who you have in your life to love.’

The two other children that they adopted have severe medical and special needs.

She stopped fostering in October 2019 due to her own health concerns but it has carried on in her family. Four of her biological children have fostered, and three of them have adopted some of the kids they have fostered.

Three of her grandchildren have fostered children too.

Linda added: ‘I would just love (my foster kids) just like they were my own, probably more than I should,” Herring said.

‘I cried when the kids would leave my home, no matter how long they had been there. It was so hard for me to say goodbye to them. I always questioned, ‘Why do I keep doing this?’ because it was never easy to say goodbye to a child.

‘But I kept doing it because I had so much love to give to these children in need.’

To celebrate Linda’s years of caring for so many children, Johnson County Board of Supervisors honoured her with a resolution of appreciation.

What an amazing woman.

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