Nancy Nelson of Frewsburg was married at the age of 20 and longed for children. As fate would have it, she turned to fostering children to fulfill her motherly instincts and fill her home with the joyful sound of children's laughter. She has fostered dozens of children over the last 30 years. Her husband passed away 19 years ago, and she continues to be a foster parent.
"I'm blessed to have the support of my community and church." She said.
The most frequent question she gets asked is, "Aren't you afraid you'll get attached and miss them when they leave?"
"If it doesn't hurt when they leave, you shouldn't do it," she says. She is quick to add that when most of the children leave they are going to a permanent loving home, so she sees her role as maintaining positive relations with the parents to help make a smooth transition for the children. They may be returning to a more stable home environment or entering adoption with a forever family. Over the years, she has adopted three children, and she stays in touch with many of the children and their families. "Some of my foster children even come back and stay for a visit," she said.
To help the community better understand foster care, the Therapeutic Foster Care Program of G.A. Family Services located at 515 W. Fifth St. in Jamestown is having an information session on Tuesday, May 14, from 6-8 p.m.
"Our foster children have special developmental and medical needs," said Maggie Dreyer, director for Community Based Services for G.A. "For those reasons our team provides extensive training and support to the family, and we're available 24/7 if needed."
G.A. Foster children are between the ages of birth to 21 years old. Both married and single adults and those with or without children in the home are invited to attend.
"Fostering is a life-enriching experience," Dreyer adds. "The rewards are endless, not only for the children but for the adults, as well. We know it's not a decision to take lightly, which is why we are offering this open house, so people can come and ask questions and learn more about the program and the need for foster homes in our community."
Therapeutic Foster Care is a program of G.A. Family Services (GAFS), an affiliate of Lutheran in Jamestown. GAFS serves youth and their families who are in need of care. Treatment includes residential, educational, therapeutic foster care and preventative services. For more information about becoming a foster parent log onto: www.lutheran-jamestown.org or call 708-6161.