Foster mom who has raised more than 400 kids preparing for an empty nest

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — An Independence woman has 465 kids who she calls her own. While they might not be blood related, it doesn’t matter for this foster mom: once a parent, always a parent.

Now, she’s about to reach another milestone. Opal Zucca says she will always remember her last baby as soon she’ll step into retirement at age 84.

“It’s going to be empty,” said Zucca with a laugh.

Zucca started fostering in 1972 with her husband.

“From then on, it’s baby, baby, baby all the time,” she said.

Zucca still remembers each one long after their gone. Every year, her kids and their families will send cards. But sometimes those kids are too precious to let go. Zucca has children of her own and adopted a three-year-old girl into the family.

It’s a huge trend in the family.

“My niece and nephew adopted him,” Zucca said, holding up a photo.

With her children all taken care of, she’s ready to slow down and tend to her empty nest.

“I’ve got a lot of yard work to do,” Zucca said with a big smile.



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