“We were having some issues with some of our kids about being blood relatives,” says Irene Kish, whose friend helped the enture family put their handprints on a canvas.  “All of our adopted children and the dog…it’s a beautiful tribute to our family.” 

They’re a unique family that includes nine adopted children.  And, over the years, Kish has also taken-in an astounding 106 foster kids, many of them medically complex. 

“Just amazed.  I can’t believe someone could put that much dedication into something,” says Sean, a foster child who Kish adopted. 

He has struggled with emotional scars and developmental delays.  Kish is always by his side. 

“We communicate very well together,” she says.

“She’s an exceptional resource for the Department of Children and Families,” says Jacqueline Ford, the Statewide Foster Care and Adoption Recruitment Specialist for DCF. 

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month.  Anyone interested can call 1-888-KID-HERO

“You can be single, you can be married. We welcome gay and lesbian families,” explains Ford.  “We welcome people who’ve never been a parent – we help you, we train you and provide support.”

“I was a foster care child in the system for a number of years due to child abuse and neglect,” says Iran Nazario, founder of The Peace Center of Connecticut, honoring Kish and others who make connections in the community.  “We can operate and sleep and function if we feel peaceful it has to be taught and practiced and that’s what The Peace Center aims to do,” he says.

Kish hopes more people think “out of the box” and consider becoming foster parents.  It’s a role, she says, that’s changed her life: 

“I’m not the same person – I’m going to cry – not the same person I was before I did this…this has showed me that I can do this and I think I do it well.”

Kish will be honored on April 25th in West Hartford.  She plans to continue taking-in more foster children for many years to come.

Click here to learn more about The Peace Center of Connecticut.