When newly married Mary Samuels and her husband, Winston, found out they could not have children of their own, the couple opted to become foster parents – a decision they would make again 56 years later if they are given the opportunity.
Mary Samuels, 77, was among three elderly foster mothers honoured by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) last Thursday for offering their homes as sanctuaries to dozens of unfortunate children. Fredlin Tomlin, 80, and Sybil Watt, 88, were the others.
The ‘love stops’ were in recognition of National Foster Care Week, which ended yesterday, and the women were presented with baskets of supplies, plaques and special memorabilia from children they have fostered over the years.
“I don’t have any children and I don’t know if I came down (from heaven) for this purpose, but I can tell you for the long number of years … sometimes the road is rough, but when you look back, you see that you really have to play a role,” said Samuels.
Shortly after marriage at age 21, Mary and her husband, residents of Elderslie in north St Elizabeth, found out that they couldn’t have biological children. At that time, there was no access to fertility clinics, and Mary, a Christian, said she was not about to break her marital vow.
“We don’t know how or why we come into this world, and we must be guided by the Almighty,” said the septuagenarian. “Children are a gift, and although they are hard to look after, if you believe in God, nothing will hurt you,” she said, proudly listing the names of the children she fostered.
Unlike many foster parents …