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Published February 27, 2013, 08:36 PM

A Pelican Rapids couple dedicates almost 30 years to foster care

Pelican Rapids, MN (WDAY TV) -- A Pelican Rapids couple is changing the lives of young children from across the state bringing them into their own home as family.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Pelican Rapids, MN (WDAY TV) -- A Pelican Rapids couple is changing the lives of young children from across the state bringing them into their own home as family.

Mark and Rick Sytsma have dedicated almost 30 years to foster care and the number of kids benefiting is really adding up.

"Mary, Pake, I'm glad I have you as mom and dad."

Tucked away in Pelican Rapids, a little outside of town, the Sytsma house is home to many.

Rick Sytsma: "About as long as I can remember we've been offering a bed to someone who needed it."

Mary Sytsma: "We had a place at the table and so yeah let's try it."

The couple now "mom and dad" have precious memories and letters from many who didn't otherwise have parents in the picture.

"I love you so much"

Beginning foster care after establishing roots, having five children of their own.

Mary Sytsma: "You raise your own family, you just have extras all the time, all the time."

Becca Dillon: "A lot of my friends only had one or two siblings and I had a lot more than that usually."

During their nearly 30 years of foster service the Sytsma's have opened their doors to about 60 kids from around the community.

Mary Sytsma: "They just come in and they're part of the family."

Gretchen Welch: "That's one of the most important things is giving these kids a normal family setting despite their adversities."

Their work earning a regional Foster Parents of the Year award.

"and I will miss you if I ever get adopted."

But more importantly touching so many young lives that didn't begin so lucky.

Mary Sytsma: "I just feel like it's really my life, it's one whole aspect of my life."

Rick Sytsma: "I think we gain as much as anybody, probably more."

And it's little letters like this one, that make their years of work worthwhile.

"keep being a foster parent for years to come and help many children and soon they will love you as much as I do."

If you're interested in foster care, Kindred Family Services would love to help out. Its website is kindredfamilyservices.org.

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