Jane Perry, certified nursing assistant at Morning Pointe of Athens for more than six years, has opened her home to more than 200 adoptive and foster children over 20 years, in addition to raising two boys of her own.
Ms. Perry says that, as she grew older, she and her husband came closer to the decision of caring for children who had no parents or guardians.
She first took two-and-a-half year old Tiffany under her wing, then she raised Tiffany’s older brother Travis Campbell, who was age 13 at the time. Travis said his life would have been very different had it not been for Ms. Perry’s care.
“I don’t think I would be here actually if it had never happened, because I was a very troubled kid when I was younger,” Mr. Campbell says. “They have helped me straighten myself out to where I am now.”
Bethany Perry, another under Jane’s care, expressed the same gratefulness.
“It means a lot because a lot of children don’t have what I have,” Bethany says. “It means a lot that someone took their time to raise me as one of their own, treat me as one of their own.”
After Ms. Perry and her husband adopted eight children, including Travis, they decided to build a bigger nest, becoming foster parents to more than 200 children over two decades.
“They have always made you feel part of the family, that is very important to a kid that never had that very their biological parents that means a lot,” Travis said.
The Perry family was honored as the Adoptive Parents of the Year in 2006 by the State of Tennessee. But to Ms. Perry, nothing was more rewarding than being a mother to many.
“I have done a lot of things in my life but that was the most blessings that I have ever gotten was taken in children that needed someone,” she said.
She is now watching her children raise kids of their own.
“See Tiffany bloom to be the mother that she is,” Ms. Perry said. “She is so good with those children. I tell her ‘I am so proud of you,’ and she will say ‘It’s because of you, Momma. You were a good mother.” And I am very humbled because God has really blessed me to see those children do well.”
This mother’s heart of gold has enough love for many more, as the CNA now cares for an older generation in her role at Morning Pointe. And on Mother’s Day, the assisted living community never misses a moment to recognize its moms – both residents and associates – who know caregiving by heart.
“I don’t feel special; I feel blessed and after I got out of the foster care thing, I went into assisted living and it has just melted my heart as well and I love my residents, they are like my family,” Ms. Peryr said. “I think about them when I am at home, when I am not here. I think about them. I go visit them I love them and they love me.”