Martine Michel may not have taken the route she intended, but she ended up exactly where she needed to be; a foster parent that has provided a loving and supportive home for 16 kids in the past two years.
Martine initially wanted to start a group home. She said it has always been a passion of hers to help kids. She went to the Children’s Home Society of Florida for some guidance and was convinced to start fostering. She was hesitant at first, but decided to take a chance and said it was the best decision she’s ever made.
She refers to every child that walks through her door as her babies and ensures they feel comfortable from the very first day. “I let them be themselves,” Martine said when asked how she makes the kids feel at home. She makes it a point to take them to the store to get the things they need or want to make this new place feel more like a home to them.
The most rewarding thing for her is seeing the smile on her kids faces. Recently, she took her kids on a trip to Disney. It was the best feeling for her to see the kids laughing, enjoying themselves, and just being kids.
Although they are only with her temporarily, Martine creates a special bond with the kids that will last a lifetime. She still like to meet up with them even after they leave. “I recently visited one of them and they were so happy to see me,” said Martine.
“They’re all my babies and I treat every single one of them as if I gave birth to them myself,” said Martine.
Martine loves fostering so much that she is trying to convince those closest to her to take the same fostering route. She wants more people to see that it’s an amazing experience and get rid of some of the negative misconceptions about fostering. She even offers to help her friends and family through the process.
In honor of National Foster Care Month, Children’s Home Society of Florida aims to recognize the foster families making a difference throughout Florida and encourage more caring adults to consider fostering to support vulnerable children and their families during their greatest time of need.
For more information about becoming a foster parent please visit http://chsfl.org/foster.