Octogenarian has No Plans to Stop being a Foster Parent

Posted by on May 19, 2013 in News, Stories | 0 comments

This Father’s Day, 80-year-old Harrison Nero’s home will be overflowing with sons and daughters – both biological and those who’ve become part of the family through foster care.

Hathaway-Sycamores' Foster Father, Harrison Nero

Foster Father, Harrison Nero

At an age when most men have long ago waved good-bye to raising children, 80-year-old Harrison Nero is currently sharing his heart, home, and eight decades of wisdom with his three teenage daughters. While other octogenarians probably couldn’t even fathom such a situation, this Long Beach resident wouldn’t have it any other way.

As the former postal employee and present assistant pastor at Antioch Church of Long Beach puts it, “I’ve been blessed beyond my imagination. When you can give a child comfort and security, it’s a blessing to be able to do that.”

And Harrison, along with his wife Loretta, has been doing precisely that for nearly 15 years. After raising five biological children of their own, the Neros were introduced to the urgent need for foster parents by a fellow parishioner. As Harrison Nero recalls, “We really didn’t hesitate. God has been good to us, and this was a way to give back.”

The couple has thus been giving back since 1999, when a quartet of siblings – ranging in age from 10 to 13 – was placed with them. Over time, it was discovered there was a fifth sibling – a brother that the others didn’t even know existed – and he too was placed with the Neros. All stayed until they were adults, and all return frequently to the Long Beach residence they consider home.

Over the years, the Neros have fostered more than two-dozen children. ”They all call me papa,” says Nero. “We treated our foster kids the same what we treated our own kids, and now everyone is just family.

For the last several years, the couple has been working with Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services Foster Family and Adoption Agency. We’ve been working with Hathaway-Sycamores because they’re really good at making sure that whatever the kids need – medical care, therapy – they surround the kids with whatever they need,” notes Loretta Nero.

Five years ago, Hathaway-Sycamores placed a 12-year-old girl with the Neros. She remains with the couple, who are intent on seeing her off to college. Just a few weeks ago, the Neros also welcomed two teen sisters, ages 15 and 16. Like the youngsters that came before them, these three will also likely become part of the couple’s extended family.

That extended family is expected to fill the Nero’s home this coming Father’s Day, and Harrison Nero is looking forward to lots of hugs. “The difference that you can make in these kids’ lives is forever rewarding.”When asked how long he plans to continue being a foster parent, Harrison replied, “I haven’t really thought about it. I guess for as long as I can still help someone.”

For those interested in becoming a foster parent, call 1-888-24-FAMILY or e-mail VirginiaMontoya@hathaway-sycamores.org.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *