Fostering a special Christmas in Cape Coral for nine kids

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Christmas is less than a week away and nine little foster angels are happy to have a home for the holidays.

Two dining rooms, multiple Christmas trees and enough toilet paper to last the average person months. The Ryan family has their hands full right now with their foster kids.

Kerry Ryan started fostering with her husband, David, in 1992.

“I was cleaning a house and a lady was a foster parent and I’m like, ‘wow, I can do that,'” Kerry said. “We kept calling and they said, ‘no, you have too many kids. You have too many,’ and I bugged them enough. They said ‘you can take one’ and I think in about six months we probably had four.”

Now, they have nine and it is non-stop.

“It takes a lot of patience,” Kerry said. “Sometimes there are 15 meltdowns going on in 15 different rooms and you think, ‘oh my God. I can’t do this,’ and all a sudden they come up and they start kissing you.”

To the kids, the Ryans are like grandma and grandpa. Kerry tells me if it were mom and dad, they would have even more kids than they already do.

“Takes a lot of patience and a lot of time and very little sleep,” Kerry said. “It’s a lot of laundry.”

Five to 10 laundry loads a day, to be exact. Kerry said they go through six to nine rolls of toilet paper each day.

“It takes a village to raise a child but if everyone would just take one we wouldn’t need a foster care system,” Kerry said. “A lot of people think you do it for the money there’s no money to be had.”

Kerry and David said they like to take in hard-to-place kids, with disabilities or autism. Since they started fostering, Kerry said they have taken in over 150 kids.

“That look, that smile, that note that ‘I love you, grandma and grandpa,'” Kerry said.

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