By Zirconia Alleyne
From the outside looking in, Pastor Derrick Tuck said his family may look perfect, but they deal with issues like everyone else.
Derrick and his wife, Veronica, have four teenage children — Deandre, 18, D’Jeffrey, 16, D’Erricka, 14, and Donte’, 14.
“We have issues and we have problems,” he said. “We basically just deal with things from a spiritual standpoint.”
Tuck is the pastor at Refuge of Hope in Christ Church. The couple got married in 1999 and has been foster parents since 2003. Many of the children they’ve fostered still revere them as parents as well.
Derrick, who also works at Belmont Elementary, said foster parenting came natural because he’d been around children his whole life.
Veronica, who works at Wal-Mart, said her parents had foster children when she was growing up.
“We had kids in the home that I knew were going to be there for a little period of time,” she said. “I would keep my distance and try not to get attached, but as a parent, I had to stop blocking that attachment because they needed to be close to me.”
The couple treats every child like their own, which led them to adopt their three sons.
“God put you here for a reason,” Derrick told his children. “Therefore when he placed you in our family, there’s no blood separation — we’re all one, period.”
As a family, they love to draw, play board games, watch movies and travel.
Deandre recently graduated from Hopkinsville High School and plans to study education at Hopkinsville Community College.
D’Jeffrey, D’Erricka and Donte’ also attend HHS, where their parents graduated. D’Erricka said she’s excited to start high school but hasn’t decided on any
She is very active at church with the dance team, usher board, choir and helps out with the children. She also enjoys photography.
D’Jeffrey is in choir and helps in the sound booth. Donte’ sings but loves reading, writing, and playing video games and football in his free time. Deandre laughed, saying he just sits back and watches.
The couple said they have a heart for children and believe it’s their calling. When Derrick was 19, a judge gave him custody of his first child. Over the years, the couple guessed they’ve taken in or mentored nearly 50 children.
“I feel like it’s a gift because even when they get on my nerves, they still come in my direction,” Derrick laughed. “God gave me a gift I can’t get rid of … you can run but you can’t hide.”
Veronica believes her childhood prepared her to help her husband, whom she said has had a big heart since they met in middle school.
“He’s always been one to help everybody,” she said. “He’ll give you the shirt off his back.”
“I’ve actually done that before and got in trouble with my mama,” he laughed.
By Zirconia Alleyne