Foster parents commit to providing a loving environment for children to heal

Foster parents Jake and Manda

Every foster parent has a reason why they decide to take the step to provide a home to vulnerable children. For Manda, it was sparked while working with foster children in her early 20s. Confident she didn’t want biological children, Manda decided foster parenting was a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in the lives of many children. A year ago, she and her husband, Jake, welcomed their first foster child into their home. So far, five foster children, all under age 6, have been in the couple’s care.

Since becoming foster parents, Manda and Jake, married for 10 years, have become experts at making homemade slime and snow. One of Manda’s favorite things to do with the children in her home is read to them. “Watching them be kids and just enjoying life is fun,” she says.

For Manda, watching children start to heal in a stable, loving environment is one of the most rewarding experiences of foster parenting. She admits that guiding children from trauma to a place of healing is challenging.

“It’s heartbreaking to hear these kids’ stories. It’s hard to see how trauma has hurt them and how it influences their behaviors and ability (or inability) to cope,” Manda says.

The challenges of foster parenting have only increased Manda’s passion to help more children who need placement. The couple relies on their own strong support system to meet the individual needs of each child in their care. Her advice for new foster parents or those considering it is, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It takes a community of people to bring about healing.”

If you are interested in foster parenting, The Villages hosts Information Sessions statewide to answer your questions about the process. Find dates and locations for upcoming Information Sessions here.

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