Holiday Angels: Hella Stadel

Hella Stadel

Occupation: Foster parent for 37 years

Residence: San Bruno

What she does: Stadel has foster-parented more than 100 San Mateo County children, specializing in high-risk medically fragile infants and toddlers for the past 20 years. She keeps the children for as long as three years and nurtures them so they can be adopted despite severe disabilities.

Why she does it: “You have to love the child,” Stadel said. “I have a daughter who has given me two wonderful grandchildren. But when I had two miscarriages, my late husband and I wanted more kids in the house, so it just made sense to help the children that needed us most desperately. I wish more young persons would open up their hearts to take in foster children on the Peninsula.”

The impact: Some of the children she has cared for are still in touch with her, even after they moved out of state. She has been invited to weddings of her former foster children. “I wish we had many more like Hella,” county Homefinding Supervisior Carlos Smith said.

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