East Texas Family Gives The Gift Of Love - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/26/04-Gregg County

East Texas Family Gives The Gift Of Love

Even before Jason and Nicola decided to get married, they knew each other had a heart for children. In 1997, they moved from their native England to Gregg County. A couple years later, they had a daughter, Elizabeth, now almost five years old.

Then, they saw KLTV 7's Gift of Love report. "We always tuned in when we knew the Gift of Love was coming on. We waited for it and listened and I think that probably soften our hearts and maybe lead us in that direction," says Jason.

They decided to open their home to foster children. "We just decided to take the first child that came along. No matter what race. No matter what their problems might be because somebody needs to love them. So we felt like God was asking us to be there for them," says Nicola.

They received a four week old crack addicted baby named Lucy. She would stiffen like a board when they held her, her nerves amplified because of her mother's addiction. "The doctors told us that they have a scale of crack in their blood and Lucy was off the scale and normally at that point children would die at that level," says Nicola.

They not only wanted to help Lucy, they adopted. She is now a healthy little girl, an answer to their prayers. Nicola says, "When you look at these little babies that are helpless you can't help but love them."

For Elizabeth, an only child, it was time to learn to share. "We talk to her about how blessed we are and how much we have and how little others have and we believe it's better to give than receive and we're putting it into practice, sharing Barbies," explains Nicola.

Elizabeth shares not only Barbies but her room, and she's learned to accept a constant flow of foster children in and out of her house. "I share my toys with them," says Elizabeth in a soft, sweet voice.

And the foster children share stories with Elizabeth. A few years back, they brought a little girl into their home who had been abandoned. Jason himself at the time, was away on a business trip.

"Her daddy had walked out on these children. Because Elizabeth's was gone she said to her, 'you know, your daddy's not coming back cause once they leave they don't come back.'" Jason goes on to say, "She was heart broken. That was a career decision for me too. I realized this is not something for me to pursue because a daddy's place is with his children on a daily basis. You can't put a price on the time you spend or lose at this age."

The latest foster child to come into their home arrived about three months ago; a two and a half week old baby boy. Just like Lucy, he too was addicted to crack. His tiny body now going through withdrawals, sometimes crying five hours at a time. Jason and Nicola wish more people would help these helpless children.

"You don't have to go to another country to find troubled people. There's people on your doorstep," says Jason.

"We want to show, we're all equal and every child is worth loving," says Nicola.

They are now in the process of adopting this latest baby to come into their home and for Elizabeth making him... "A forever brother," she says.

They know it's not easy taking in troubled children, but they say their faith will see them through. "We know they cost money and that it takes time but if God has asked us to do this then he'll provide. It'll be good," says Nicola.

Jason and Nicola had no idea when they moved to America just what an impact they would have on the lives of so many children and how their own family would grow by giving the gift of love. Nicola says, "If we're going to chose to be here then we're going to leave it a better place than we found it."

Jason and Nicola are now working on becoming American citizens.

They believe so much in spreading the word about helping children that Nicola is now the president of the Foster Parents Association in Gregg County.

Gillian Sheridan, reporting.

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