First Steps

First Steps
Posted on 06/20/2018

As a widower working full time, Gloria had a conversation with a colleague that would change her life.

It was a surprise to Gloria to learn that her colleague, who also a single parent, fostered children.  She hadn’t known that a single person could foster.   With her colleague’s encouragement Gloria attended an information session at the Children’s Aid Society of London and Middlesex.  Twenty three years later, Gloria continues to open her home and heart to fostering children. 

Many of the children Gloria has cared for are older children and youth.  She may not have watched them walk for the first time, but it is clear that she has been an integral part of, and witness to, many first steps. 

As Gloria, a wonderful storyteller, shared her fostering experiences with me and stories of human resilience,  I was struck by how many of the then children still keep in touch with her as adults.  Some email her for a recipe, or call for parenting advice.  She has attended graduations and weddings.  She is invited to birthday parties for foster “grandchildren” and sometimes lunch dates just to talk.   When I asked her why she thought this was, her response was simple.  “I made a relationship and connection to the children I cared for”. 

Gloria has seen children and youth through many struggles and challenges and has found that making a connection, doing activities together and taking an interest in the person, the most important thing that you can give.  Although it can be a big adjustment for some; Gloria’s structure, routine and clear expectations have created a safe and comfortable family environment.   Gloria has provided opportunities and experiences for youth that they would not have had otherwise.  They have been a part of sports teams, family trips, etc. With each experience they learn and grow.  What a child or youth once thought was impossible, becomes possible. 

 

In addition to her dedication to the children she cares for, Gloria is also an active member of the Legion Ladies Auxiliary.  She is family to many who refer to her in their hearts as mom, grandmother, and friend.  The Children’s Aid Society is honored to have Gloria as a resource parent and member of our child welfare team. 


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