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Neriza was inspired to become a foster parent by her mother and father, who fostered for several years as a retired couple. Neriza felt confident that she could also offer care and stability to children in need, and she joined Seneca Center’s Intensive Treatment Foster Care program once her three kids were grown up and living on their own.

 

“I love the idea of being able to help children who don’t have parents,” Neriza says. “They didn’t choose to be foster children.”

 

Neriza initially believed that she wanted to work with younger girls when she first became a certified foster parent several years ago. She was caught by surprise when she connected with a 12 year old boy instead. After taking him to Little League games over the course of the summer, Neriza grew to appreciate T’s positive personality, intelligence, and humor and realized how much they share in common.

 

“We love music, we love to laugh, we love to eat,” Neriza says about her foster son. “He’s a wonderful kid.”

 

T has fit right in with Neriza’s community of family and friends. They have traveled to together to visit relatives in Pennsylvania, Texas, Oregon, and Canada, and he is a constant companion for Neriza’s young nieces who live next door.

 

Neriza believes that she has gained just as much from her foster son as he has from her. “He doesn’t just learn from me, I learn from him also. He teaches me to be more flexible, more understanding, more patient, and to love unconditionally.”

 

Based on her experience, Neriza knows that it takes significant strength and an open-minded attitude to develop positive relationships with youth in foster care. She strives to be as flexible non-judgmental as possible, especially when she provides respite care for other children in the program.

 

According to Neriza, the ongoing support from Seneca’s social workers, support counselors, and trainers has been extremely helpful, and she feels strongly connected to the treatment team. “The whole crew is just great,” she says. “The staff bend over backwards to make it easy for us foster parents.”

 

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