FULTON, NY -- Children across New York are placed in foster care every day. And although the number of children in care has decreased over the years, there still remains over 16,000 in foster care across New York State today. Caring foster parents are the key to giving children in foster care the love and support they need, and no one knows that better than Esperanza Hotchkiss.
Placed into the foster care system at age 16, Esperanza knows the importance and impact foster parents can have on a child.
“When I was placed with my foster family, I was a very sad and broken teenager,” said Esperanza. “My foster parents helped me regain my confidence and to see that there was more to life than just the bad things that happened to me.”
Today, Esperanza is a foster parent herself. Over the past four years she has fostered nine children and has recently taken the next step to adopt five of her current foster kids, giving them the best gift of all; a ‘Forever Family’.
“I had the best foster parents. They are a big part of my life and the reason why fostering is so important to me,” said Esperanza. “I believe every child should feel loved and be loved.”
Foster parents play an essential role in providing temporary, safe, nurturing homes for children when their parents are unable to care for them. Berkshire prides itself on being a support for foster and adoptive parents every step of the way. “From the beginning, Berkshire has been a great agency to work with,” said Esperanza. “They support me and all the foster parents by always having someone available to talk to and answer questions.” Esperanza has gone from a family of two, with her 10 year old son Ezekial, to a family of seven.
“We always knew she could do this,” Said Margarete Warner, Berkshire’s Foster Care Program Coordinator. “Esperanza is committed, energetic and not afraid of a challenge.”
“Fostering children has really impacted my life along with my son’s. We have met some amazing kids and now have been given the chance to make five of them a permanent part of our family,” said Esperanza. “Knowing that you are making a difference in a child’s life is truly the best feeling ever.”