Raising nearly 30 children has provided Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann with negotiating skills that serve her well in the nation's capital. Bachmann, a passionate advocate for foster care and adoption, visited Regent University on November 20 as part of the university's recognition of National Adoption Awareness Month.
Bachmann and her husband, Dr. Marcus Bachmann, are the parents of five biological children and 23 foster children. She shared their story as parents and also their connection to Regent during a special law chapel for students, faculty and staff.
"It's been a marvelous experience for us. Being foster parents has allowed us to teach our biological kids that they're not the only kids in the world," Bachmann said. "Our foster care kids have been able to see what a picture of an imperfect 'normal' family is like. And we saw the beauty and worth in them.
"Twenty-three times, we've seen these kids graduate from high school and launch successfully into the world," she continued. "The Lord trusted us enough to be part of their lives."
The Bachmanns' love for children and their special love for at-risk youth led them to youth ministry work during the 1980s. It was at their church where they first met families that took in teen foster children.
"We decided to be foster parents and went through the training," she explained. "We weren't sure how we were going to do it because we still had young children of our own, but we began bringing these teens into our home and before we knew it, we had so many children that we needed a group home license."
Bachmann shared the story of one of her 23 foster children. They went to a homeless shelter to pick up a teen girl — also named Michele — who had been in and out of a number of homes. "We were her last stop," Bachmann said. The girl, who had virtually no clothes, would start high school the next day at an affluent suburban school.
"I think of Michele's strength and her resilience. She was put into a family with babies and other teens, and she had to go to a strange school, unaccompanied...today she works as a waitress, putting herself through college and wants to get a doctorate in marine biology. Michele found out there was a place for her in our very imperfect home. She's not damaged goods. She has a future and a hope," Bachmann shared.
Bachmann also talked about her and her husband's roots at Regent. Bachmann was a member of the last graduating law school class at Oral Roberts University (ORU) and was part of a group of faculty, students and alumni who moved the ORU law school to Regent.
"I saw the boxes and the shipping tape, and I watched the books from a first-class law library go off the shelves," she said. "We had a little boy and one on the way, and my husband and I came to Virginia Beach as well. I began tutoring law students at Regent and Marcus started his master's degree program here."
"Marcus and I are here today because our life story is so intimately connected to Regent, and we're so grateful to the university," she said.
Elected in 2006, Bachmann is the first Republican woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota. She was elected to a second term in 2008. Prior to serving in Congress, Bachmann served in the Minnesota State Senate. She was elected to the Minnesota State Senate in 2000 where she championed the Taxpayers Bill of Rights. Before entering public service, Bachmann spent five years as a federal tax litigation attorney, working on hundreds of civil and criminal cases. She is one of Congress' leading advocates for foster and adopted children, earning her bipartisan praise for her efforts.
By Mindy L. Hughes, APR