Ms. Mapil's love keeps going and going - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Ms. Mapil's love keeps going and going

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May 10, 2007

Sylvester --   When other people let them down, neglected or abused children often turn to complete strangers for help. Thousands of Georgia children are in foster care. For more than three decades, a Worth County woman has provided a loving, temporary home for dozens of kids. Some of that temporary love has become permanent.

"That's a lot of joy," said Mapil Davis while watching her kids play basketball in the backyard.

Davis looks through her door at what brings her tremendous joy each day. They're affectionately known as Miss Davis' children.  Beyond the glass door lies what has been a constant force for Davis. "That's my life. It's what I live for I guess," said Davis.

Since 1991, she's been a foster mother to more than 75 children in Worth County. Then add to that her 20 or so years in New York as a foster parent.

"I can't even count them," said Davis. That's after having five biological children of her own.  She's outlived two of them.

"I lost my baby girl. She had cancer. Then I lost my heart, my love, Andre. He was 38. He had a massive heart attack," said Davis.

But now there's 14-year-old Malcolm.  He came to live with Davis seven years ago. "When I was at other foster homes, they would never keep me. They would always hit me and then when I got here, she gave me a home," said Malcolm.

Years later he still has a home and calls Davis-- Mama. When asked how long he's called her that, Malcolm said, "Since the first day I got here."

He'll continue to call her Mama. Davis adopted him a few years ago.  He even shares something with her biological son who passed away. "When she adopted me, she asked me if I wanted his name. I wanted his whole name but she said I've been Malcolm too long," said Malcolm.

He's now Malcolm Jerrod Davis. He settled for Andre's middle name and settled into a life opposite of what could have been. "Probably going from foster home to foster home," said Malcolm.

The gift of fostering continues. Davis' daughter Shelly Laster also adopted five children of her own. "After watching my mother, I was inspired," said Laster.

It's a life inspired by love. Davis said, "If you don't have the love, if you don't have God...see you've got to give when you don't want to give, do when you don't want to do because who else is going to do it?"

Call it a challenge Mapil Davis stepped up to again and again.

Right now, Davis is caring for four foster children. She's about to adopt her third foster child, a 15-year-old boy. The Division of Family and Children Services always needs foster and adoptive parents. To find out more, call 1-877-210-KIDS.

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