In 2017, Gabby Glaser became a foster parent for the first time. As a social worker for the Department of Child Services, she knew first-hand the struggle to find safe, loving homes for vulnerable kids in her community.
“I was seeing kids sleeping in offices,” Gabby says. “I thought, ‘I bought a house; I have an extra room…this was what I was called to do.’”
During her first year of fostering, Gabby welcomed four children into her home. With so many littles running around, she was actively seeking ways to provide engaging, intentional opportunities. She signed up for Hands of Hope’s monthly newsletter, always keeping an eye out for family friendly events. Last fall, she lit up while reading about the chance to attend an Indianapolis Colts game through Hands of Hope’s Huddle for Hope. Gabby immediately knew she wanted to take Bryntyn, who she had been caring for since the beginning of 2017.
“Bryntyn is in love with sports,” Gabby says. “He loves anything with a ball…So when I saw the opportunity to get the Colts tickets I kind of jumped on it.” At that time, Gabby was unsure what the future held for her role in Bryntyn’s life, and she was soaking up every chance she got to carve out special moments with him.
“There was a lot of uncertainty last fall,” Gabby remembers. “I was really intentional about making memories with him. I just wanted him to know how loved he is.”
The day of the game, Gabby and her father and sister, together with 6-year-old Bryntyn, loaded into the car and headed to Lucas Oil Stadium. “We got some pictures out in front by the Payton Manning statue,” Gabby remembers. “Bryntyn was so excited. He is a tiny thing, and he was telling everybody what he was going to do. ”
“We got our special passes,” Gabby says, which Bryntyn “thought was so cool, to wear the little pre-game pass. It made him feel super special.”
Next, the attending families went on a personal tour of the stadium with Kristin Ballard, wife of Colts General Manager Chris Ballard.
Kristin spent time with each of the foster families attending that day, asking Bryntyn about school, what he was looking forward to at the game, and which snack he was planning to choose.
“She really made it like we were her friends,” Gabby says. “Kids in foster care get special events sometimes, but everyone knows who the foster kid is. It was not like that, and I really appreciated that. There was a lot of beauty in that, how humble she was. She was doing it to show love to these kids and how much she appreciated them.”
After the pre-game tour, it was time for a snack break and grabbing seats. “Bryntyn’s favorite snack at any sporting event is nachos,” Gabby says. “So he got his nachos and really enjoyed the game. He was dancing, jumping around—he really loved it and got into it.”
In January 2022, Gabby officially adopted Bryntyn and welcomed him into his forever family. At the Colts game, the future was still uncertain, and Gabby says that the big day helped her show Bryntyn just how loved he is.
“He’s worth everything,” Gabby says. At the game, “he could just be a kid and not worry. Something so simple, it really meant a lot. Just to have a day to enjoy Bryntyn—he felt celebrated.”
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