Her Life Is Complete

3849731221_8b1eeeeab1Sylvia had always dreamed about being a mother. She was 49 years old and thought her dream would never come true when she received a phone call. Would she be willing (say yes), the caller asked, to take care of four children? The children had been neglected (not taken care of) by their mother. As a result, they had been missing school and sleeping on the streets or with other homeless people.

The children had been moving from home to home for more than a year because no one wanted to take care of all four of them together. Sylvia agreed to become a foster parent (someone who takes someone else’s child into their family without becoming their legal parent) for the three girls and one boy. “I went from zero to four overnight,” she said. “It was a big change. But what else could I do? Those children needed me.”

Foster children are minor (younger than 18) children who are taken care of by foster parents. Some are placed in foster care voluntarily (without someone saying they have to) because their parents can’t take care of them. Others are taken from their parents and placed in foster homes because they are in danger of physical or psychological abuse (cruel or violent treatment).

Often grandparents or other relatives (family members) become foster parents for needy children. But frequently people who are not part of the child’s family become the foster parents and take care of these children. Usually children are placed in foster homes by the government or a social-service agency (an organization that helps people with special needs).

Many children are placed in foster care for a while and then adopted (to take someone else’s child into your home and become the child’s legal parent). This process usually takes about four years. More than 100,000 foster children in the U.S. are waiting for a family to adopt them, and about 50,000 are adopted every year.

The idea for foster care in the U.S. began about 150 years ago with Charles Brace in New York City. Brace was concerned about homeless and neglected children who were living in the streets and slums (areas in very bad condition) of New York. From 1853 to about 1890, he found families to take care of more than 120,000 of these children.

For Sylvia, becoming a foster mother wasn’t the end of her story. Last summer, the children’s mother was killed. And a few months later, Sylvia officially adopted Rebecca, Giovanni, Olivia, and Mary as her own children. “This love is different from anything I’ve experienced,” Sylvia said. “I really feel now that my life is complete (as great as it can possibly be).” Her dream of becoming a mother had come true.

~ Warren Ediger – ESL coach/tutor and creator of the Successful English web site.

Credit: Sylvia’s story is adapted from a story by Sandy Banks in the Los Angeles Times.
Photo by publik15 used under Creative Commons license.


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24 Responses to Her Life Is Complete

  1. Dan says:


    Thanks for reminding us that out there there are these kind of situations and people in need.

    This piece shows us that in life you never know what next. Look at Sylvia! mother at 50 of four! Unbelievable, but true.

    Frankly, I do not know if I would ever be able to do that even with one kid. But, as this story teaches, never say never.

    I wish them the best and to get along well.


  2. Marcos says:

    Hi everyone

    Here in my country I believe that have something like Foster Children but I myself never thought about that issue and so it’s difficult say something. I know that adopt a child is a long and hard path. People who adopt or want to adopt looking for baby, child that looks like them, good health conditions, white and so forth. There are so many child in the street that don’t have home or living with there parents in the street because of that. We have a social-service agency too but I think that problem will persist for a long time.

    Thank you Warren and have a nice day

  3. Philippe says:

    thanks to foster parents, for their wonderful work with children who need care and love.

  4. Genji says:

    I really like reading a story on this site and looking forward to another ones.
    Take care of yourselfe, Thanks.

  5. emiliano says:

    i had three daughters, it was a big deal as the were born in 1971/1972/1974 so when the older was three the younger was borned.
    Can´t imagine four children simultaneously, it seems this nice woman and her husband were really brave.

    Good for them. emiliano

  6. Thiago Messias says:

    What an inpiring text. People should be more tolerante and loving.
    Thanks for sharing this!


  7. peter says:

    It is a humane thing to do.

  8. peter says:

    Poverty is not sth new. It has been around since day one. There has always been poverty-stricken people as oppose to people who own the layout of the land.
    There always been orphanage kids in desperate needs of attention and care. It is not easy to live on the street when u still haven’t developed a sense of right and wrong. It is not easy to rough it in another word to tough out a harsh living condition as a child. Out there ,kids have to brave the elements in an ongoing uphill barrel to provide food and shelter all by themselves.
    The adoption agencies out there are doing a heck of a job with spotting and collecting the kids in order to provide the the opportunity for a better life.


  9. Parviz says:

    Hi every body,
    I am late as always. It seems I always happen to be the last to comment. When good words are used and well wishes are made.
    Any way as far as family goes, I’d like most members to be healthy both physically and mentally.
    I myself grew up in a family of 13; we were born with 1/5 year intervals. So when the elder child reached 19, I (the youngest) still was a new baby.
    I was always fun growing up together.
    Sometimes I feel missing those days.
    All my siblings are married, having children of theirs.
    I am the last in line of marriage.
    All my brothers and sisters are impatiently waiting to see my wife, and then, children.
    It is so funny to see we have different type of color complexions in our family (white, black, brunette, …, ).
    I am stuck wondering what can I add to the variety of my family, red, yellow, .. . and even after I made my decision, where to find her.
    Thanks Warren,
    It was great story

  10. peter says:

    it took me years to figure out all the terms we r learning on the latest episod About buying different kinds of shoes.
    And today ,we have almost all of the terms we need in one diolog.
    It is amazing !!


  11. peter says:

    Hi folks
    9:15 Am local time in Toronto the capital of Ontario , the only mega city throughout Canada.

    I was lurking the blog while having my early doze of Caffen. I figured the hell with it. lets drop a lien here.
    Next Friday is boxing day here. One day after Chritmass eve. Boxing Day is the twin brother of Black Friday in US.
    Pretty much the same no difference.
    Retail stores slash their prices and people line up behind the closed store’s doors a couple hours before the stores are open for business. For some hot items like electronic Guzmas people literally camp out before the close door. They start lining up behind the doors ridiculously early in the morning like 2 or 3 Am. Unless you have connections or related to higher ups , you literally freeze to death before the doors are open to the public. It is crazy. Sometimes for some specific items ,one hour or so before the business officially starts a couple of stores personal open the door store , get this ,wide enough so there is room for one person to get in and out of store less sb sneaks inside as if they carry tons of dollars worth of gold inside. They get out to make a list of the items people want. There is a limit to the item they sell in Boxing Day. And there is no telling how meany units they sell for each one of item untill they get out and start mailing list. Say you wanna get a mini iPad for a basement price on Boxing Day. You go line up at wee hours , get this , without knowing what so ever that you gonna be among the first few people who eventually grad their hand on the actual gadget or what ever it is they are looking for. U go line up and hope for the best. Just imaging the feeling you get ,once after hours of braving the elements in a big line running around the the huge store, one of the big shot personal announces loudly” listen up people !We reach the limit on mini iPad units. We ran out of the item. from this guy down , taping the guy’s shoulder patronizingly , whoever is in it for mini iPod better home.
    Yup , it is as brutal as it sounds. Actually , to tell the truth , I m stating it lightly. To me , Boxing Day is the scariest day of the year. I m telling you ,No wild horses can get me out of my place in that dreading day. You save a lot of green , no question there. But you gonna put you a.s in line for it , no question ask !!!!!!

    Pete the Canuck 🙂

  12. Dan says:

    Hey Pete.

    Living in a small town I do not see anything like that over here. I only get the chance of seeing those people on videos every year during this period.
    The most important thing is that no one gets hurt when they get in the store all packed up like that.

    Sometimes looking at those images I have a double feeling. Kind of fun/stupid doing that.

    But I do not wanna judge those people and what they do. I think there is room for everything. If they want to do that, go ahead, I do not care as long as it is safe and there are no fight over a TV.

    I am buying most of my stuff online lately.

  13. emiliano says:

    Parviz, please, tell us something about familes in your country Iran, I am really interested.
    How is your way of living and point of views in the old Persia.

    Thank you dear. emiliano

  14. sutisha says:

    Hi guys,
    Dear Warren,

    I really appreciate Sylvia’s humane undertaking.
    It’s surprising to learn that foster children in the U.S. are more than 100,000!!
    Thank you for your well written paragraphs.

  15. sutisha says:

    Dear Emiliano and Cuca,

    Thank you for sounding my name beautiful….LOL
    This name means ‘a person who gives knowledge’.
    Now you get to know that I’m a teacher, don’t you?
    I’m Thai, born and live in Bangkok, Thailand.
    It’s very nice to have a lot of friends around the world via this blog.
    Please tell Cuca I appreciate how brave she is.


  16. peter says:

    Hi Parvize
    I hear that you are foot loose and fancy free like me. Bro , a word to the wise, keep it that way.
    U get married and before u know it. U got sb who nags your head away and expects u to be nothing shorter than an athletic , smart , technical , practical , mechanical , jack-of-all-trades ,yet attentive , caring , loving , and above all committed , faithful yet a jackrabbit in bed ”

    Man , l wouldn’t go down that road. It is a bumpy as it can get


  17. emiliano says:

    Dear sutisha, on behalf of Cuca I want to say you Thank so much for your words to her.
    She has been happy when I have translate you message.

    Now she has a question for you, she would like to know how you say or write

    Hello Goodby Thank you Good morning Good night

    in your language if it is posible to write the words here.

    Thank you dear sutisha.


  18. Parviz says:

    Say that again Peter.
    Nothing Can run out of marriage faster than an old priest.
    I am free. Why would I give myself headache, ha, Peter.
    No marriage for me.
    But Dan is a lot different. You know he is rich and sophisticated.
    He also has a real Job.
    He must get married.
    Getting in bed with such a woman is much better than fondling a cat.
    Dear emiliano,
    You are wonderful
    You and I have a deal, and I never forget that.
    People here live normal life.
    They are variously happy and sad.
    But one good thing about them is that they care for each other very well.
    If you have a slight problem, no matter who you are, they attempt to help you in any way.
    That is why, I for one, love this country very well.
    They are very ridiculously and blindly religious.
    Every crazy thing is possible by a man with a religious mindset.
    They are irrational by emotion.
    But they have good days and bad days.
    Most of them live in poverty, which I am not surprised.
    It’s not that they don’t have money.
    It’s because they don’t know how to spend their money.
    All in one, I love this country very much.
    The good news is I am going to open a new office.
    That’s why I don’t show up very often.
    Take care guys

  19. emiliano says:

    Dear Peter, your thoughts and opinions are really funny to me, specially these about getting married.
    I do think nearly every one of the men who don´t find the right girl or woman for them say just the
    same like you. Yes, I have listened these words several times here too.
    But not only to the men, alse I have listened these opinions to the women. In fact I have some female
    Friends or one of my sisters that say just the same like you.

    The reason?, well, I don´t know, but to my mind comes a story of the Fox and the Grapes, it was written
    or told by Esopo and it is so:

    The fable of The Fox and the Grapes is one of a number which feature only a single animal protagonist.Driven by hunger,
    a fox tried to reach some grapes hanging high on the vine but was unable to, although he leaped with all his strength.
    As he went away, the fox remarked ‘Oh, you aren’t even ripe yet! I don’t need any sour grapes.’
    People who speak disparagingly of things that they cannot attain would do well to apply this story to themselves

    So, you may see Peter your opinión is quite old and it is possible it convice yourself to be happier but I am sorry
    If I don´t agree with you dear friend.
    Nothing of what you said suits me at all and of course my dear Cuca is not that way of person you have described so

    Nice to read you, as always, Peter but let me not to be in agreement from time to time bro.

    So Parviz, in my opinios it would be nice to you if you find a nice beautiful girl, fell in love each other a get married
    whe you both be sure about your feelings.
    It is always better to be IN GOOD COMPANY that alone for ever.


  20. Dan says:


    Hey Parviz,

    I was thinking that for my next year’s resolution I ‘ll have to improve my writings.
    That’s because I must have expressed myself wrongly for giving out the idea that I am rich and sophisticated.

    I am neither one nor the other.
    I am as rich as a factory worker and the simplest guy around.

    I have been married for 13 years and know a little bit on the subject.

    The only thing I agree with you in part is that sometimes yes, it is better laying down with a partner and for specific purposes. But, not always.
    Sometimes it is nice, as in my case, sleeping with not one, but three cats on me.


  21. lili:) says:

    Thanks Dear Warren

    This is such an inspirational story.

    It’s an incredibly difficult job adopting and bringing up other people’s children. My hats off to Sylvia and all the other people who do that.


    Hi Everyone!

    Please excuse me for being away for so long. I’m still here. I am still a Premium Member of ESLPOD.com and I’ll try to continue being a committed member for as long as possible.

    Just want to write to let you all know how much I enjoy reading your posts. There’re some personal and intimate contents above. But, life doesn’t have to be serious all the time. Good to have a good laugh from time to time.

    Amazing when we think about how many days, months and even years we’ve been here together.

    Soon we’ll wave goodbye to 2014, trying to forget all the unfortunate things we endured during the past year. And then eagerly we embrace 2015, hoping to have a better new year.

    Let me once again express my sincerest THANKS to my teachers Jeff, Lucy and Warren. Day by day, step by step, you’ve helped me gain confidence in improving my English.

    Must go now. Still lots to do.

    If I don’t see you before, a Very Happy Christmas and New Year 2015 to you all here in this boundless classroom called ESLPOD.COM.


  22. Narges says:

    Dear Warren,
    It was an inspiring story.
    Unfortunately, in my country there is no foster parent system. Homeless children are put in some spacial houses and usually they suffer from not enough care and budget.
    I read a strange fact about new born babies who live in that houses. No body has enough time to hug new born babies in those houses, so part of their brain doesn’t develop naturally and as the results, babies wouldn’t be smart and intelligent.

  23. Dan says:

    Hi Lili

    Nice to see you back again. Emi’s superpowers work after all.
    If you did not know, I asked him to do something for your return.
    That worked! SuperEmi or Supergatufo hehheeh.

    Thank you for your wishes Lili. Happy holiday to you and your family as well.

    I also see in your message that you are basically saying “guys, consider subscribing or donating to ESL” or at least I read that between the line.
    And I totally support that. I am not a premium, but I do donate little bit sometimes.
    It is important to do that. I mean, they cannot go ahead just with the “thanks”.

    It always a good thing saying thanks but, at times we need to be realistic and more, kind of concrete. By that I mean hand on the wallet and donate. Even a small amount.

    It always amazes me, and that is more true at the end of the year (as we count those) the amount of podcast that come out from Lucy’s head.

    I hope Jeff is giving a hand on that department, right? we do not want Lucy’s head to go like the computer when it’s overheating, I do not remember the word for that.

    Thank you.

  24. Mine says:

    Hi I’ m Mine, I’m a fan of this blog , I love to read the wonderful comments that you write down here on the
    One of my aims for the next year is to learn to write and spoke in English with ESL Podcast as my guide.

    Tank you dear Warren for this beautiful story about love and dreams that come true.

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