A Midland foster couple who are made MBEs said "teamwork" in their family was been the secret of their success.
Antony and Ann Homer, from Pedmore, in Stourbridge, have cared for more than 350 children over 34 years.
However, the couple said they could not understand why they have been honoured for doing something which gives them so much pleasure.
"We are just ordinary people doing something we love," said 63-year-old Antony.
"We did not get into this because we wanted medals and we do not regard ourselves as different from anyone else.
"But we have a great family and I suppose it's the teamwork between myself, Ann and the children which has helped us throughout all these years."
The majority of children fostered by the couple have previously been in the care of social workers at Birmingham City Council. The couple have also worked for Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.
The children have stopped with the couple, and their five natural children, from a few weeks to a number of years.
They often come into care at the Homers for a short while if their parents are facing problems with their marriage. However the couple also foster children who are going through the adoption process.
Many of the children still keep in contact with the Homers. The couple receive dozens of Christmas cards from "across the world" from children they formerly cared for who are now adults.
Mrs Homer, aged 60, said she was stunned with the news that the couple were being honoured for services to children and families.
"I find it just amazing that we can work all our life doing something we really love and then get honoured for it," she said.
"We get as much out of fostering that we put in because every child leaves you with something. We have a lot of satisfaction with what we do.
"We have children come to us as dithering wrecks and leave with confidence and an ability to face the world. This gives us quite a buzz.
"We have couples come to us who have been trying to have children for years and then they adopt. They come to us and we hand over this bundle to them - and the look on their faces is all the reward we need."
Mrs Homer said although the couple have enjoyed fostering, it can be emotionally challenging.
"It does not get easier", she said. "You have to take each child into the family unit and then you have to let them go. It is a wrench, but all you can do is hope you have done your best for them.
"You form a bond with each and every child. But you have to pick yourself up and dust yourself down when they leave."
A Birmingham City Council spokeswoman said: "We are delighted that both Antony and Ann have been awarded MBEs.
"They have done a marvellous job over the years for the council and for the children of Birmingham.
"Foster carers who offer a child a home, whether on a temporary or long-term basis, are very important to us and make a real difference to a child's life."