Former foster child gives back to EVOLVE
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On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, Greg Tuenge stopped at EVOLVE Adoption & Family Services’ Stillwater office to share a photo representing his connection to foster care and adoption.
The picture showed Greg with his foster family, now retired educators Don and Kathy Magnuson, along with their adopted daughter and son Drew, who has also adopted three children with the help of EVOLVE.
For years, Greg Tuenge has quietly supported through donations, but he visited the office to share his story and thank EVOLVE employees with the gift of bagels.
“Thank you all for what you do,” he told the staff. “It’s very important.”
In 1969, Greg’s mother passed away after a heart attack. After briefly living with his older siblings, Greg entered foster care and was placed with Don and Kathy Magnuson.
The placement was called “short term,” but he remained with the couple he calls his family to this day.
While he noted every child is different, Greg found it a bit of a culture shock to transition from a challenging home where his mother was sick to a more structured home environment. But he adapted to the change and appreciated it.
“They’re not there just to discipline or anything else,” he said. “They’re there to help.”
When Don and Kathy looked to buy a house that would require Greg to switch high schools, they gave him a say, asking how he felt.
Greg jokes the Magnuson’s didn’t foster children for the money; they did it to help children.
“They did not get enough money for me,” he joked.
He remained with the family through high school and joined the army. When a deployment to Germany ended, Greg naturally returned to Don and Kathy’s.
“I don’t even remember asking,” he said.
The connection to adoption only grew over time. While stationed in Germany, he received a picture of his new foster sister, a little girl Don and Kathy adopted through South Korea.
The family heart for helping children only grew, as Drew grew up and adopted three children through EVOLVE.
Greg, a history buff, lived with Don and Kathy through college, but his career took an unexpected turn. Rather than following a path toward studying history, he instead started working in IT, a profession he continues to this day for Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Greg plans to continue supporting EVOLVE Adoption & Family Services in the future.
“I just appreciate what you do,” Greg told the EVOLVE staff.
“You guys are under appreciated,” he added.