By Amy Howe

An organization is making a profound difference in the lives of foster and adoptive families in Southeast Kansas. Fostering Connections, founded by Lacy Nickelson in 2018, has been providing hope and support while bridging the gap between community resources and the needs of children in foster care. Through a variety of programs and services, Fostering Connections is dedicated to ensuring every child feels loved and valued, despite the challenges of the foster care system.

The inception of Fostering Connections is a story of faith and a call to action. “In 2017, I knew God was asking for a step of faith and obedience,” says Lacy Nickelson, founder and president of Fostering Connections. “My husband and I said yes to PPC (police protective custody) care, and through that, our eyes were opened to the great need in our area for more quality PPC homes, respite homes and foster families.”

Fostering Connections founder Lacy Nickelson

Lacy observed a significant gap in resources and support for foster and adoptive families. “Foster families are typically the ones responsible for the doctor appointments, therapy appointments, tantrums and the work it takes to help blend them in with your own children—it can be exhausting,” she explains. Determined to make a difference, Lacy felt a calling to support these families through events, activities and training, all while showing God’s love through community and church collaboration.

Fostering Connections offers a range of initiatives designed to meet the needs of families and children. “We currently offer seven family-centered initiatives and seven child-centered initiatives,” Lacy shares. These programs include events, resources and support systems that help foster children feel special and appreciated. One of the standout programs is the VIP Kids Birthday Gift initiative, which ensures every foster child receives a personalized birthday gift. 

“Our hope is that children in care will feel loved and appreciated when they are treated to one of our events or by receiving a VIP Kids Birthday Gift,” Lacy says.

The organization also provides senior gifts for graduating foster children and works to support foster parents in their journey. “The more support we can provide for quality foster families, the less bouncing around children will have to experience,” Lacy notes. This stability is crucial in fostering a sense of security and normalcy for children who have already faced significant upheaval in their lives.

Since its establishment, Fostering Connections has touched many lives, providing much-needed support to foster and adoptive families. One particularly heartwarming success story involves a family who was able to foster and subsequently adopt siblings thanks to the resources provided by the organization. 

“They needed to make some minor repairs to their home in order to keep their placements. Fostering Connections was able to help them with those minor repairs, and as a result, the siblings were able to stay together and then be adopted,” Lacy says.

Testimonials from foster parents highlight the profound impact of the organization’s work. Debbie C., a foster parent, shared, “Jackson learned to ride the bike you guys got him. He rode a couple laps around the school parking lot. Thank you, now he has transportation!” Another foster parent, Beth J., expressed her gratitude, saying, “Your whole organization is just amazing! Thank you for the Amazon gift card for clothes and restaurant gift card.” These stories underscore the meaningful difference Fostering Connections makes in the lives of foster children and their families.

Fostering Connections thrives on partnerships with local churches, businesses and community members.

“We are independent of any one child-placement agency,” Lacy explains. “However, we have formed partnerships with all of the child placement agencies in the counties we serve.” This collaborative approach allows the organization to extend its reach and provide comprehensive support to foster families.

The organization relies entirely on donations and support from the community. “Our mission to bless foster and adoptive children is able to expand when we receive support from normal people like you and me,” Lacy says. This grassroots support is vital in ensuring Fostering Connections can continue its mission to make a difference, one child at a time.

Fostering Connections’ vision is one of hope, love and community support. Despite the flaws in the foster care system, they remain steadfast in their belief that every child deserves to feel special and loved. “We may not be able to change a system, but we can all show love to these children and help them to feel special one life at a time,” Lacy says.

Through the dedication of Lacy and her team, Fostering Connections continues to plant seeds of love and support, nurturing the lives of foster children and their families. The organization’s story is a testament to the power of community, faith and the unwavering belief that every child deserves a chance to thrive.

Fostering Connections Initiatives 

Family-centered initiatives:

• Moms’ Coffee Nights

• Foster Parent Retreats

• Free Family Fun Events

• Caring Closet

• “Sleep in Safety” Program 

• Home Improvement Assistance

• Restaurant Gift Card Program 

Child-centered initiatives:

• Teen Shopping Spree

• Kids Night Out Events

• VIP Kids Bags

• VIP Kids Birthday Program 

• Graduating Senior Program 

• TIE (Teen Impact Event) 

• Christmas for Kids

For more information about these initiatives, visit