It’s a story we all know about but don’t want to confront. Thousands of children wait for a permanent family while they are in the foster care system, but one school teacher couldn’t ignore the issue since it was staring her in the face every morning.
“If it wasn't for her I’d probably be on the streets right now,” says adopted child John Silver.
“I think I deserve being in a family," said Ali, a foster child.
Former students Ali, David, and John call her mom.
“He came with a garbage bag full of clothes," said Elyse Silver.
And that’s not all the baggage he showed up with.
“He was in third grade he tried to beat up his principal at school and was arrested.” Elyse shared.
And Elyse herself faced danger.
“One of my sons has six arrests. All for domestic violence. Three on me," she explained.
Counseling, incentives, and a commitment not to throw in the towel all helped Elyse and her family stay in the game.
“All my boys have really tried me.” Elyse said.
“I decided to pee on her in front of the whole class," said Thomas Silver, her adopted son.
So why does she do it?
“It’s not the kids’ fault. It’s not the kids’ fault that their parents treated them the way they did. It’s not a child’s fault that he’s hungry, that he’s abused, that he’s neglected," Elyse said.
In her city alone, 5,000 kids are in foster care. Adoption can be affordable because in many cases, medical insurance and some living costs are paid for, as is public college tuition.
“As a single parent I wouldn’t have been able to afford to put three kids on my insurance," Elyse said.
Elyse always had her eye on the ball. Having three boys and now a grandson was not on her radar.
“I’m pleased to say I pretty much have my own basketball team," she said.
And her team, well they couldn’t be happier with their coach.
“She changed my life. She’s changing my life," Ali said.
The fostering and adoption process for potential parents is different in each state, but in most cases you can be married or single and live in an apartment or house. Age requirements vary from state to state, so contact your state agency if you want more information.
Allentown, PA 18102