"It's not hard. It's easy. It's easy to love," says Aida Cruz, the mother who opened her home to 58 foster children over the course of eight years.
Cruz now lives in North Buffalo, but spent her time caring for dozens of children while living in New Jersey. She raised foster children alongside her two biological children. She ended up adopting one of her foster children and her brother adopted another of hers.
Cruz wanted to share her positive experience, hoping to inspire more families to open their doors and their hearts.
"You have to consider their lives, these children need you. They're in your home for a reason," says Cruz. She says her experience wasn't always easy, with some children coming through her doors with attitude and untrusting. "It just takes patience. You just have to love them."
Aida says the biggest piece of advice she can offer is, "You don't know until you try it." Cruz says you just need to give foster children attention, love and feed them...a lot.
May is National Foster Care Month, highlighting the need for families to help the more than 400,000 children and youth in the foster care system.
In Erie County, more than 700 children are living in foster homes. The Department of Social Services is working to find homes for 57 children. They're having trouble finding homes because many homes are looking for adoption placement only.
To find out how you can become a foster parent in Erie County, click here.