Gateway Longview Foster Care Stories: Kellee
At Gateway Longview we offer comprehensive Foster Care & Adoption Services to support families in the Buffalo, NY area and throughout Erie County. We work to match children in care with safe, nurturing foster home environments where they are set up to thrive.
In honor of National Foster Care Month, we are spotlighting Kellee and her experience fostering through Gateway Longview.
GL: What made you decide to become a foster parent?
Kellee: "I've thought about adopting a child since I was in high school. When the AIDS epidemic was in the spotlight, [in class] we talked about how it impacted families. In that moment I decided I wanted to help by adopting a baby that had HIV. Fast forward 20-some years, I am still single and not a Mom (something I always wanted to be), but those closest to me reminded me that I don't need to be married to be a Mom. I decided in that moment to adopt a child, it's something I had always thought about - what was I waiting for?
I wanted to do it through foster care because I knew those kiddos really needed the love and nurturing I longed to give…I didn't know what that would look like, but I wanted to be a Mom, and this way I still could be. Since deciding to be a foster Mom, I have had 2 placements, and they have been wonderful."
GL: How has Gateway Longview supported you in your foster care experience?
Kellee: "Gateway Longview has been fabulous! When I talk to friends who have fostered and tell them how many people I have working with me and supporting me, they are always shocked. There are always at least 2 people working directly with you for support, but that's not to say there aren't a few more behind the scenes that you can reach out to if need be.
The support system at Gateway is large and strong. I never feel alone. I know I can always reach someone if I need help or have a question."
GL: What would you say to someone who is on the fence about becoming a foster parent?
Kellee: "I would say that it's not as scary as it sounds. If you're on the fence because you've heard horror stories, remember that we live in a society that feeds off of negativity - they would never tell all of the wonderful & heartwarming stories - that's not good news.
If you're on the fence because you're afraid of the emotional toll it might take, you're right, it is emotional, sometimes very emotional. Keep in mind though, that as an adult, dealing with emotions is something we can handle, and it's absolutely worth the emotions to know that you helped an innocent and otherwise helpless child stay healthy & safe."