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Mom to more than 100 foster kids celebrates Mother's Day

Posted at 4:06 PM, May 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-12 17:06:57-04

Moms love pulling out old photos of their kids. Jackie Swain is no exception.

"Oh this is better than Facebook to me because I don't do Facebook," Swain said.

Swain may have a few more names to remember than most moms do. Her albums are full of pictures of the roughly 100 foster children who have called Swain mom.

"I wasn't into the count," Swain says. "All I was into was giving them and providing them with love."

Swain says she always had a heart to help children, but never considered fostering until at age 22, life made her.

"I befriended a 15-year-old that needed a place to stay," Swain recalls. "And the only way I could keep her, her family was in the system. And therefore I had to become a part of that system."

Swain began taking in as many foster children as her home could hold.

"Oh don't talk about that," Swain says laughing. "It might have been illegal."

She enjoyed every moment.

"It was a lot of love," Swain says. "It was one big happy family. Wasn't no foster." 

But it wasn't always easy.

"You can't blame the kids," Swain says. "It's what they grew up in. And you have to love them back into reality. Family is blood but it’s also love and love is greater."

After more than 40 years of loving children, Swain decided to retire.

"I could have fostered until I died," Swain says. "But because my husband wanted us to have time together, I owed that to him."

Now Swain has a new form of fostering; watching her grandson, the son of one of her foster children.

"I will foster," Swain says. "Because that's in me. You don't give up your calling."

It's a calling to give, to love, and be a mother 100 times over — a calling that will never go away.