Foster mother finds a home

Signing on the dotted line means home sweet home for Delores Smith. The 70-year-old officially gets the keys to her castle after a long eight years.

“It was my house and when I lost it I lost a bunch of stuff,” she said.

Smith was rendered homeless in 2003 when oil from her outdoor heating oil tank spilled, seeping under the house and forcing her and her three adopted children out.

Today, the Accokeek resident, who has fostered 125 mentally and physically handicapped children throughout her life, is walking into her brand new living room thanks to Barnes Builders.

“Being a builder in the area, we thought this was something we could really put our hands on and help out with and help her get the home that she really deserves,” said Terry Barnes.

But it hasn’t been an easy eight years.

When word spread that the house would have to be demolished, the promises of donations flooded in. Then in 2007 the economy took a nosedive, and those donations dried up.

But with help from local and state housing officials, Barnes broke ground in February. Just four short months later, Smith and her kids are putting their house together.

There are special accommodations for Smith’s three handicapped children, like bathrooms designed with wheelchairs in mind.

Now, the woman who has spent a lifetime helping others says this will only help her do more.