Gift of Love: Kelsie, 9 Year Old Enjoys Fishing - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/27/06 - Athens, Texas

Gift of Love: Kelsie, 9 Year Old Enjoys Fishing

Nine year old Kelsie enjoys being outside even on a cloudy day. Like on this day at the Athens Fresh Water Fishery. "Wow, look at that fish," says Kelsie pointing at a big bass swimming past him.

Fishing with his foster dad is his favorite hobby. "I caught a big huge fish. It was a catfish," says Kelsie holding out his hands to show the size of the fish.

"The foster dad brought him out here just to spend that one-on-one time with him and I think Kelsie really needs that," explains Mandy Bryan, Child Protective Services caseworker.

Kelsie has been in foster care about 2 years, removed because of abuse and neglect. "There was nothing in the refrigerator but rotten baloney and rotten eggs," says Mandy.

He grew up having to raise himself and his younger brothers. Dealing with his past has not been easy. Mandy says, "Kelsie is the one that has taken longer to get over it because he feels like it's his fault that he and his brothers were removed from the home."

Kelsie has made a lot of progress in the past two years. This third grader likes school but will need extra help and attention. He's also a happy kid who needs structure to thrive, but most of all he needs the Gift of Love.

"Recently he told me he's ready to find his forever family and when I visit him he runs up to me and asks, 'Miss Mandy, have you found my forever family yet?' So, he's ready."

"I want a family with other kids so I can play with them," says Kelsie.

He will need some time to bond and trust a new family.  He's hoping, unlike fishing, that when it comes to children they won't believe in catch and release.

Mandy says, "He just needs a family. A family to call his own."

If you'd like to know more about Kelsie call our Gift of Love hotline, toll-free, 1-888-kids-275.

Gillian Sheridan Reporting

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