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NEWS | Oct. 18, 2017

Airman fosters new beginnings for over 40 children

By Airman 1st Class Allison Payne Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

What most people don’t know about Yvette Morhee, 14th Airlift Squadron unit program coordinator, is taking care of people doesn’t stop at the end of her work day. As a civilian, Morhee plays a critical role in Joint Base Charleston’s mission through her job at the 14th AS, as well as her extraordinary involvement with the foster care program.

For the last 10 years, Morhee has been graciously giving back to the community by being a foster parent and caring for children without homes. During her time working in foster care, she has fostered approximately 40 children and adopted one.

Morhee retired from the Air Force as a master sergeant after serving 21 years. During her service, Morhee was stationed at Clark Air Base, Luzon Island in the Philippines, for three years.

“What I saw in the Philippines broke my heart,” said Morhee. “There were children living in the streets. They slept in cardboard boxes and begged for money and food. Seeing these children living in such horrible conditions deeply hurt me, so I tried to help them and give them an education in my spare time.”

Morhee said she always wanted to adopt and help children since she was younger, and the neglected children she witnessed firsthand in the Philippines reinforced her urge to help. Aside from fostering children, she also works as the secretary of the Dorchester County Foster Care Association to more deeply involve herself in the foster care program.

“Yvette has a strong compassion for people and she has an extremely giving heart,” said Deborah McCall, president of the Dorchester County Foster Care Association. “She’s like family to me, we have both been each other’s support system in the realm of foster care. I believe her experiences in the program have taught her a lot about herself and what she can do personally to change the lives of children. Yvette has done an outstanding job of being there for each and every child that comes into her home.”

“This is my way of giving back,” said Morhee. “We don’t have enough foster homes here, and I wanted to do something for the community so I did foster care first, and then adoption. Thankfully, Lt. Col. Bingham has been incredibly supportive of my foster care efforts, which has motivated me even more to be the best parent I can be.”

Currently, Morhee has two foster children potentially up for adoption, along with her adopted daughter, who came to Morhee when she was seven years old. Morhee credits her ability to take care of these children to her career in the military.

“The military taught me about diversity and how to be more open and accepting,” said Morhee. “I learned how to be understanding of different beliefs and lifestyles. The structure from the military especially helped me when it came to taking care of new children. I believe I’ve passed along these important lessons to my children in a positive way.”

Morhee said she credits much of her happiness to the children she has fostered. She said one of her happiest moments was when her second foster care child reached out to her after moving to live with her grandmother. Savannah Christopher, Morhee’s then foster daughter, texted her to let her know she joined the Army in hopes of becoming a pharmacist. Christopher expressed her appreciation to Morhee by saying “You taught me a lot, I wouldn’t be where I am today without having known you, I’ve been very blessed by you.”

Morhee said she treasures each child she has come to know. She also said every child has taught her a lot, such as the importance of consistency and flexibility. She believes she learns more valuable lessons with every child she takes care of.

“I think if you can touch one child’s life in a positive way, that is an amazing accomplishment,” said Morhee. “Messages like Savannah’s reaffirm my love for what I do because even though it isn’t always easy, it’s always worth it. I don’t even think about the challenges, I just do it.”

McCall said Morhee continues to care about the children she has fostered even after they’ve left her home. She also said Morhee makes it a point to contact the children’s social workers to see how they’re doing and offer them more clothing and toys. Morhee assures the social workers that any child in need of a new home is welcome back into hers with open arms.

“I’m a people pleaser and a people person,” said Morhee. “I just want to show these children that there are better things out there than the lifestyles they were used to, and I want them to know they are safe in my home. I just hope the lessons I taught them touched them in a positive way and they’re able to look back as they grow up, like Savannah, and appreciate their time with me. Most importantly, I want them to remember that they are loved.”

Morhee currently works full time at the 14th AS and is almost finished with her master’s degree in counseling. She said when she retires, she plans to work with the Department of Social Services to continue making a positive impact in children’s lives.

Those interested in learning more about the foster care program can reach Yvette Morhee at 843-532-7664 for additional information.