RICHMOND, Va. -- Dinnertime in the Solomon household can be described as controlled chaos. While food items in the Henrico home change daily, the main ingredient served every night is love.
Alison and Jerold Solomon’s three children each lend a hand. In this home there always seems to be new chefs in the kitchen.
“It’s a lot. It's like a full-time job. Always balancing,” Alison said. “I feel blessed by the experience that we’ve had and by how it has shaped our family.”
Alison and Jerold open their door to children in Richmond’s foster care system.
“There is no difference from three to four to five. It literally makes no difference,” Jerold said.
In six years, the Solomons have welcomed eight children. Some little ones even arrive with medical issues.
“Are we being loving toward our neighbors? Are we being loving toward each other? That is the bottom line,” Alison said.
The length of time a child stays has been as short as two months and as long as two years.
“We feel that God has asked us to do a thing. And we didn’t make any excuses and we just did it,” Jerold said.
The married couple of a dozen years who met in Northern Virginia said fostering little ones in need has filled their hearts.
“The more that you love other people and show who you are by the way that you love that is how we are judged. That is how people see you,” Alison said.
In this household fostering is a family affair. Dad a teacher and Mom a pediatric nurse call their biological children Eden, Levi, and Jonah heroes.
“We always tell them it is not just about the love for each other but how we show love to other people,” Jerold said.
Eden, 12, said her family home is filled with joys so why not share it with others?
“It makes me feel proud that my family is doing this. I feel like we’re doing the right thing,” she said. “It kind of shows me how to love other people differently. And to like know what other people are going through.”
This summer the Solomons are fostering a two-year-old girl and a seven-month-old boy who need a home.
“I’m sad that there are kids anywhere in foster care. I’m grateful that we are in a position where we are able to provide a home and love for kids who need it. I’m grateful for that,” Alison said.
Levi, 9, said his house is always buzzing with activity.
“It kind of helps me make more love for other people,” he said. “Usually there is someone running in circles around the house.”
While privacy and quiet time might be hard to come by Levi said he wouldn’t want it any other way.
“Well you’d usually get to see little kids most of the time babies,” Levi said. “A lot of people to love and care for and it is a really, really good thing to do.”
With so many cooks in the kitchen dinner time in the Solomon household may be a chaotic affair, but this loving family said there was always room at the table for just one more.
“I don’t see a time where we would be unwilling to open our home to someone in need,” Jerold said.
“If someone calls and says we have this kid that needs a safe place whether it be for a couple of nights or two months I can’t see us saying ‘no’ to that," Alison added.
Alison and Jerold’s family is expected to grow more permanent. The Solomons are in the process of adopting the little boy and girl they are currently fostering.