As someone who has worked in the field of social work for a LONG time, I’ve encountered my fair share of amazing--amazing kids, stories, people. FCNI foster parent Maureen Nettles has to be very near the top of this “amazing” list. As a foster parent for somewhere near 25 years, she is the epitome of an individual living out her true calling--her mission, if you will. Gratefully, Maureen’s mission is closely aligned with FCNI’s mission, “to enhance the wellbeing of children, youth and families in partnership with our community.” She would tell you, “I am blessed.”I will tell you, she has quite literally saved lives.
Maureen is a devoutly spiritual woman whose Christian faith guides her every decision. To me, she is the embodiment of every positive image one might attach to the role of “foster parent.” She is loving and nurturing, has a great sense of humor, is a fabulous cook, and a provider of endless grace….Lord knows there have been a few (myself included) who have pushed and pushed her only to find there truly is no limit to her graciousness.
As a social worker arriving at her home, you’ll likely be greeted with some version of “Come on in,baby.” Evidence of her latest project will likely be in full view...decorations for a High Tea event at church, preparations for a choir performance, gathered goods to be donated to some well-deserving individual or cause. A Hallmark movie will likely be providing the background soundtrack. There are always sumptuous smells coming from the kitchen. Kids and animals mill about. This scene has played out hundreds of times in my visits to her home. Maureen’s home is welcoming amid the chaos, her heart so big she can never decline a project.
But, it is her unconditional, unobstructed love for the kids in her home--her willingness to be the balm while also facing the wrath--that is the true miracle of Maureen. These kids, most of whom have experienced trauma and, at the very least, have been emotionally abandoned, do not trust easily. They test limits often. All the while, Maureen is just consistent, steadfast, and loving. Her ability to transcend their hurts, build relationships, and begin to fill the empty spaces inside them is truly something to behold. I have witnessed her crawl onto the floor to connect with a kiddo, I have sat in Emergency Room waiting rooms till nearly midnight to provide support as she tries to “reach” a child. We have cried tears of joy and sadness. I have listened to her prayers for the children in her care. And oh, how we have laughed...at the absurd, the miraculous, and everything in-between. I swear that Maureen’s laugh is some combination of a warm embrace, her heart bursting, and off the charts joyfulness.
Maureen’s legacy is sealed in the futures of the many kids she has welcomed and loved through their fear and pain. She has adopted children, taken guardianship, provided long term therapeutic foster care and crisis driven overnight stays. You name it, Maureen has risen to meet the need. These kids “know” no matter how long it’s been, she will always “answer the call” should the need arise. Maureen is truly faith in action, and I, and many others, are grateful to have been witness to her ongoing, life-changing journey.
To become a foster parent or adopt a child or youth in need, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today!