Parenthood
Mom with big heart cares for hundreds of foster children over 50 years
"I could never say no to a child that was in need."
Caryl Jane Espiritu
05.10.22

Most parents would surely agree that looking after two to three children is already a challenge, but one woman seems to think otherwise. Why? Because she has fostered hundreds of children in a span of 50 years, something that she is definitely proud of.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

Meet Thalia Thornton of Oceanport, New Jersey.

The 85-year-old woman loves children. In an interview with CBS News, the elderly lady shared that she has become a foster mother to more than 700 kids, all within a period of 50 years.

“Love is the greatest thing in the world. You give a child love and you can see the improvement in their life.”

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

Her home in Oceanport has housed these many foster children. And on top of that, she also shared that most of the kids she helped raise were kids with special needs.

“Most of them were special needs, which meant they had to have a lot of work done. Say, for example, one little girl had spin bifida,” Thalia shared. “The first boy we took, 17 months old, he suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome. It was very, very sad. He didn’t want me to leave his side. He slept right in the bed with my husband.”

She found happiness in the children but she also had sad memories of them.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

Thalia recalls what Mimi, one of the kids with special needs, told her years ago. Sadly the little girl passed away at the age of six.

“She says, ‘Granny, why are you looking up there?’ I said, ‘I’m praying.’ … ‘Yes, I’m praying to God that he would give me more patience,’ and he did give me more patience,” the elderly woman said.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

Being in a house full of people, especially children, is something that Thalia is used to. As one of 11 children, Thalia is quite accustomed to having a chaotic, loud but happy home.

Before becoming a foster mom, Thalia and her husband had trouble conceiving which led to them waiting for 12 years in their marriage before finally being blessed with two daughters. As a way of thanking God, the couple started fostering children.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

Thalia continued being a foster mom even after her husband passed away.

“I’ve had a beautiful life, taking care of others people’s children,” she said. “Some people would say, ‘I would never do that,’ but somebody had to do it. If you have the right kind of love in your heart, you will stick with it,” Thalia said.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

A living witness to Thalia’s generosity and kindness is Angela Allora, a nurse who cares for medically fragile children. The woman would often visit Thalia’s home and shared how the elderly lady would even attend the kids’ school events.

“Many times it was psychosocial, and we knew the children were in good hands when they came here,” the nurse stold CBS News.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

Thalia remembers all of the children she fostered.

Despite her old age, Thalia shares how she remembers all of the kids she cared for. She thinks about them and the memories she had with the children.

“I remember them all. Sometimes now at my age I wish I had them back. I’m lonely a lot of times,” Thalia said.

The children feel the same way. They never forgot their foster mom, and visit her as often as they could. Some of those children live nearby, while some are now in group homes.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

There were kids who lived with Thalia until they reached 21 years old, which meant that the time they had together was very long and meaningful.

The elderly woman never stopped fostering, but that was until she was diagnosed with colon cancer around four years ago. What keeps her happy these days are the visits of the children she helped raise over the past 50 years.

Can you imagine the sacrifices and struggles this woman must have done to become a mom to 500 kids? She is one inspiring lady, indeed.

Find out more about this incredible woman’s story by watching the video below!

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By Caryl Jane Espiritu
hi@sbly.com
Caryl Jane Espiritu is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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