Making a Difference, One Little Girl at a Time

Posted by on May 5, 2015 in News, Stories | 0 comments

At a time when other women her age are starting to contemplate retirement, 55-year-old Valerie Craig can be found on any given weeknight helping an 8-year-old little girl with her homework, and on any given weekend cheering on that same little girl as she streaks across the finish line at a track-and-field meet. The reason for Craig’s atypical mid-life schedule is because, as she puts it, “There are so many children in need – I had an empty nest, and I knew I could do this.” So she made the conscious decision to open her heart and her San Fernando Valley home to children who have been placed into foster care.

Valerie Craig and Hathaway-Sycamores' Susan Fierberg

Valerie Craig and Hathaway-Sycamores’ Adoption Specialist Susan Fierberg

Craig’s most recent foster charge – whose disabled biological mother was unable to provide for her safety and physical health – has been with the single, portfolio manager for a year now. In that time, Craig – who has three adult daughters – has seen this previously timid third-grader blossom, beam with self-esteem, and recently snap up a superstar award for school citizenship.

Craig describes her current foster daughter as “a normal little girl who has a mother who can’t take care of her at the moment.” It’s Craig’s future hope that the mom and daughter can reunify, but – in the meantime – she’s dedicated to surrounding the pint-sized natural sprinter with stability, safety, and lots of love.

“I like someone needing me and making a difference in someone’s life,” says Craig, who has previously fostered two other little girls and received her foster-parent certification through Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services. Hathaway-Sycamores’ Adoption Specialist Susan Fierberg describes Craig as “the epitome of a great foster parent. She really integrates the child into her home life and into the community, and does all she can to advocate for the child and to facilitate reunification if that’s possible.” Fierberg wishes she had many clones of Craig, as there are so many youngsters – at any given time – who desperately need nurturing foster homes.

For those considering becoming foster parents, Craig offers assurances that they won’t be left on their own. “For the first three months of being a foster parent,” she explains, “my social worker from Hathaway-Sycamores visited every week. Even now, my social worker visits every other week.”

May is National Foster Care Month, and for some 35,000 youngsters in Los Angeles County’s foster-care system – over 500 of whom are available for adoption – many more Valerie Craigs are desperately needed. By sharing Valerie Craig’s story, perhaps others will be motivated to become foster parents and make a difference in the lives of innocent children who’ve already suffered too much. Click here to learn more about fostering or adopting a child.

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