Making a House a Home for 130+ Families
Marybeth Robinson & Caitlin Sund
Two years after Caitlin Sund adopted her daughter from China, she returned to serve in a Chinese orphanage — wanting to care for children that were experiencing much of what her own daughter experienced being raised in an orphanage.
On that return flight home, feeling both depressed and ignited, Caitlin, and her fellow group of travelers began to dream about how God would use her calling back home. And the York County Foster Closet was born.
Upon returning, Caitlin called her friend and LifeGroup member, Marybeth Robinson, who was getting licensed to become a foster parent. “Marybeth is the most giving and caring person I know. I just called her and asked if she wanted to be a part of this thing. And she immediately said yes,” said Caitlin.
The vision of the closet is to provide support for foster and adoptive families in York County. For many families, financial restrictions and fear keep them from saying yes to adopting, fostering or opening their home to a child in need. “We didn’t want those to be reasons for people to say no. We wanted to make it easier for them to say yes,” said Marybeth. Currently, the York County Foster Closet is housed in a storage facility off of Highway 160 in Fort Mill. Caitlin and Marybeth have transformed a storage unit into a children’s boutique. Beautifully lit, welcoming, warm, encouraging, and inclusive.
The closet is stocked with donated children’s clothing and baby care items like cribs, strollers, high chairs, blankets, and more. Families are encouraged to come by and “shop” for what they need for their transition home. All items are free for the families. Marybeth added, “Especially for foster families, you don’t know how long you’re going to have a child. And the stipend you receive just can’t cover all that you need. We want to take that financial burden away.”
In addition to providing basic needs, the Foster Closet is creating community. “Being a foster or adoptive parent is hard. It can feel really lonely. But this is a unique community where each family knows exactly what the other is going through — because they’ve been through it or are currently in the middle of it. We love to be able to connect families and create this support network.”
“It’s been amazing to see the community come together. Time and time again, people keep providing donations for our store. LifeGroups are washing and sorting clothes, providing meals for families. Even kids’ LifeGroups are serving. It’s so cool to watch kids serve other kids,” said Caitlin.
In the last 18 months, more than 130 families have been served by the York County Foster Closet.
“You know, when God breaks your heart for something — like ours was for orphan care — you’ll do whatever you have to do to respond to that call,” said Caitlin.
“I’ve always been surprised at what the call from God looks like. For me, I knew I was to be a foster parent, but that journey was hard and long and wasn’t going the way I thought it would. But He called me anyway. The way you respond might look big and it might look small. But He will provide for you along the way. He will make a way,” added Marybeth.