88-year-old foster mom who raised over 30 children for three decades honored

Dollita Okine June 07, 2024
When County Executive Marc Elrich honored her on the final day of Foster Parent Appreciation Month, many of her foster children were present. Photo Credit: 11 Alive

After 33 years of providing foster care, Emma Patterson is finally retiring. The Montgomery County resident was recently recognized for her contributions to underprivileged children and her community.

Despite having two biological children and adopting two of the kids she fostered, Patterson has provided care for more than thirty kids.

To provide for her foster children, Patterson frequently had to draw into her savings. She told DC News Now, “I don’t have a recipe. Nobody told me what do or how to do it. You just kind of follow your heart and you just do what you think the children need.”

Even at the advanced age of 88, she intends to retire only after the child under her care completes high school. When County Executive Marc Elrich honored her on the final day of Foster Parent Appreciation Month last Friday, many of her foster children were present.

Elrich said, “College graduates, business owners, medical professionals, and accomplished athletes all came out of her house,” according to 11Alive.

He lauded Patterson’s “amazing, generous heart” and handed her a certificate of appreciation and recognition for her efforts.

Elrich told the honoree, “You have a lot to be proud of. You’ve quietly made a significant difference in the lives of dozens of children.”

With the intention of “always creating a safe haven for children who didn’t feel welcomed,” Patterson told DC News Now that she fostered kids and helped create opportunities for kids who didn’t necessarily think they could succeed in life or get out of the foster system without a family.

Patterson expressed, “To see these young people make these wonderful achievements… they are having such wonderful lives. You can’t really ask for anything more than that.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 7, 2024


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