Giving back to her community has always been a major factor in Gale’s life, but the question was how could she make the most meaningful impact? After experiencing a personal loss, her question was answered as she felt called to open her heart and home to foster care. It can be a big decision to bring a child or teen into your home, but Gale recounts, “Once I finished the licensing process, I knew that this was where I needed to be.”
An Open Mind and Open Heart
Over the last two and a half years, Gale has provided a safe and loving home to three teenage girls. Each child arrived with their own unique needs, experiences, and trauma. “It is extremely eye-opening when you see the needs and experiences some of these kids have lived through,” said Gale. She has worked to be a champion for each child in her home, filling a critical role in their lives as their caretaker and protector. Together, they navigated challenges and built on successes together, all the while growing and modeling a healthy relationship.
With the successes of parenting also come obstacles. Currently, Gale cares for a teen girl, Sarah*, who was matched to her home during the final months of her residential treatment programming. Sarah has a long and varied foster care experience which over the years has left her with a sense of distrust for adult connections and feelings that services had failed her over her lifetime. Knowing this, Gale set out to develop trust and a healthy connection to support an easier transition to the home setting. Gale engaged with Sarah’s team through family therapy and worked tirelessly to build a relationship.
Seeing Sarah's Growth
Fast forward to today – Sarah is thriving! The last year and a half have not been without some struggle, but together they have persevered. Gale has demonstrated the power of unconditional love and support by offering unwavering patience, empathy, and a willingness to partner with the youth in her home on their passage to healing. Sarah has also pushed herself to meet and exceed her own goals as the leader of her treatment foster care team. Together, they draw nearer to Sarah’s adoption day and the future is looking incredibly bright!
Gale’s advice for prospective foster families is simple: go into this with an open mind. Though their story is far from over, the extraordinary result of this journey in foster care is just one-way foster parents like Gale embody our Nexus Family Healing vision to heal the past, break the cycle, and change the future.
Interested in becoming a foster parent? Find more information at our website.
*Names and other details have been changed to maintain privacy.
Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health services, foster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 50 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org