GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — May is Foster Care Month, where organizations raise awareness about the importance of fostering and give a spotlight on those who help provide homes for kids.

According to EasterSeals UCP, there are over 15,000 kids in North Carolina who are in foster care, with over 460,000 children in foster care nationwide.

Two Eastern North Carolina families went through the foster care process and both families say it’s about providing and giving children a loving home. They say not only is fostering one of their best decisions but it has also made a lasting impact on their families.

Claude Brown Sr. and his wife Kimberly love kids, so they decided to become foster parents. After going through training with EasterSeals UCP in New Bern and getting certified, they not only fostered but adopted their seven-year-old son, Ray’Lin.

“When we met him, he came walking in and he was wide open, and he’s been wide open ever since,” Claude Brown said with a laugh.

The Browns say since bringing Ray’Lin into their family, their lives have changed.

“Everybody loves him, he’s just a ray of sunshine,” Kimberly Brown said. “He went from not talking, because when we got him he wasn’t talking, and now he doesn’t stop talking.”

The Klingenstein family also fostered and adopted their 10-year-old son, Chris, who is now 42 years old with a family of his own. Bill Klingenstein said fostering and adopting his son changed his family’s life in a spiritual way.

“In some ways, it made us responsible. It made us try to be the Christ-like, like the Bible teaches us,” Klingenstein adds.

“It wasn’t easy because of what he went through, and we did our best to support him, even after he left the house. But three or four months ago, he told us he’s glad we had finally adopted him because he had learned a lot from us.”

Klingenstein said by sharing this story, he hopes people realize that some of the misconceptions about foster care are not true.

“A lot of people don’t think if you foster care, then there’s never a bond,” Klingenstein said. “Well, there’s always a bond and we love the bond we have and then of course we adopted him and from that moment on we believe god gave him to us.”

To find out more about foster care, click here. You can also click the QR code above.