Kelley Lane, Executive Director of Sibling Connections, feels deeply connected to foster kids, probably because she was one. Kelley grew up in Springfield, MA and lost her mom at age 11. Soon afterward, her dad dropped her off somewhere new to live. That experience left Kelley searching for a real home, one where she felt safe and loved, for over 9 years. She moved almost every year, living with a succession of friends and family. She even lived at a summer camp and with a family in Goessel, Kansas, a town of 600 people.
Eventually Kelley went to a community college. With help, encouragement, and internal drive, she graduated from UMass, got married, and earned a Masters degree from Brandeis University.
Kelley discovered her life’s purpose and direction when she was 11. She was playing with her neighbor D.J., a young foster kid with dark, black, curly hair. She remembers looking at D.J. and asking herself “who loves D.J.?” That question is the touchstone of her life.
As an adult, Kelley spends her time loving and caring for kids, trying to help them find a sense of safety and connection. She and her husband have been foster parents for over 40 children in the past 10 years. They have permanently adopted four of them and are about to adopt their fifth.
As the Executive Director of Sibling Connections, Kelley helps kids in foster care get to know their siblings, from whom they are frequently separated. Together, siblings can attend a week-long summer camp or a weekend retreat, where they can get to know each other in a safe way, at their own pace.
Want to know what it’s like to give and receive hope? Ask TPC members Megan O’Block, Cheryl Wakeham, Rosemarie Johnson, and Emma Johnson, who recently participated in one of the retreats. Rosemarie and her daughter Emma brought lunch and joined the kids roller skating. Megan and Cheryl cooked and served food. Megan fell in love with one of the young attendees who, while standing in the buffet line, said to her “I’ve never had pasta before.” Megan, born in Hoboken, NJ where pasta is a staple, watched in disbelief as he returned for seconds and thirds. As Megan said, “it’s as sweet a memory as is possible to have.”
Kelley, thank you for giving us hope.