Growing up in the foster care system, Rose Williams knew she wanted to give back to children in need. Her and her wife, Melanie, decided that the best way to do that was to become foster parents.
“I always chose that I would always do better than the way that my parents were,” said Rose. “I think that’s what made me choose a better life.”
Although the Williams family has the training to support children of all ages, they decided to start with babies — wanting the children to feel loved from a very young age.
Thousands of Florida children need a safe place to live right now. These kids – from newborns to teenagers – can’t live at home until their families work through challenges interfering with their safety.
Foster care is meant to be temporary. Most of the children they foster go back to their permanent homes, which is the #1 goal for the Williamses. To ensure a smooth transition back, they create a bond with the parents and try to co-parent with them so that they can do better when the kids get home.
Rose and Melanie have been fostering for 4 years and have created a safe and loving home for more than 30 children. Watching the smile on their faces has been the most rewarding part for them.
To make the children feel at home, Melanie and Rose let them chose what to call them. To most of the children, they’re Aunt Rose and Aunt Mel. Rose says her and her wife make the best team and that Melanie loves to make each child feel special and celebrated.
“She likes to go shopping and get them anything and everything that they could ever imagine,” said Rose.
The children get to choose their favorite toy from a treasure box when they get to the Williamses’ home and they don’t lack in hugs and snuggles.
As a foster parent, you have a very special place in the lives of the children who find safety in your home.
“You save one child at a time,” said Rose. “Even if you change one life, that’s one life that you get to change.”
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.