By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With six-thousand children in out-of-home placement, including– at times– its own waiting room, Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services really appreciates foster parents. The Department recognized their contribution at a ceremony last week in City Hall.

“We’re just normal people like everybody else,” said Tammy Evans. Her and husband Dave Evans are parents of seven children, all adopted from the child welfare system. The couple also fosters four more.  Tammy and Dave Evans are nothing short of heroic. They’ve taken babies from Infant Intensive Care, children who’ve been abused and, as DHS acting commissioner Jessica Shapiro said in honoring them.

“They have created a loving and diverse family that is beautiful both inside and out,” Shapiro said.

The children, from 10 months to 14 years, are happy to be part of it.

“It is nice, but sometimes when you want peace and quiet you really can’t find it anywhere,” one of their children told KYW Newsradio.

And Tammy wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It is hard and sometimes it’s overwhelming, but seeing the kids lives change and seeing who they’re becoming is so worth it. If you asked me if I wanted to go through everything I’ve gone through till now, I’d say yes and I’d do it again,” the proud mom said.

The Evans were one of ten foster homes honored as part of Foster Care Month. Each was a testament to the triumph of love and generosity.

Joanna Cole, for example, was recognized for the care she’s given to teenage girls.

“Not only does Miss. Cole provide the emotional support young girls need, she also insures they are fashionable and their hair is always done,” said Shapiro.

Elliot Williams, on the other hand, specializes in providing a home for boys in placement. Dawn and Stan Heisey care for children with medical needs. Tanisha Robinson takes in teen mothers and their babies. Also honored were Mary Lyles, Valerie Bess, Patricia Pembrook, Rivera Nelson and Melinda Levison.
Shapiro presented each with what she described as a “small token of our appreciation.”

“We can never,” she said, “give you enough appreciation.”