JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Family matters. That’s the message from two women helping each other raise two small children.
The goal is to reunite children with their birth parents once they're fit to take care of them again.
Through Daniel Kids, a woman named Stasi Coates helped a family do just that. For privacy reasons, News4Jax is not naming the birth mother, but Stasi hopes her story inspires other potential foster parents.
Ivanna, 4, and Jensen,1, are now living with their birth mother. They're happy and healthy kids and a huge part of that was the help and guidance of their foster mom.
"I went in it with the thought of, not just helping children, but a unit a whole family," said Coates.
When Coates decided to become a foster parent, she never imagined she'd look after two small children: a 3-year-old and 5-week-old.
"The kids weren't quite sure what was going on. I had never been a mom, and suddenly I was a mom to two kids all of a sudden. We were just figuring things out," said Coates.
It wasn't long before Coates fell in love with Ivanna and Jensen. Their sweet smiles and bright personalities had a way of touching her heart.
They thrived in the 13 months they lived with her. Their birth mother was part of the unit as she worked to get the children back.
Coates admits this was hard at first, but together, they worked it out.
"Me seeing how much she loved her children and then seeing how much I loved her children, we really formed a bond there. We co-parented," said Coates.
The kids went back to their mother this past February. Coates talks to her nearly every day.
In her home, their beds are still made up, waiting for the next visit. Extra space, and an open heart is exactly what was needed to help these children and save this family.
Coates says she couldn’t be more proud of their birth mother who has a new job and is doing well.
Prospective foster parents must meet these requirements:
- Must be 21 or older (no upper age limit)
- May be single or married
- May live in an apartment or house
- May rent or own
- May have children or not
- Income not a factor to be a foster parent
For more information on the process of becoming a foster family, visit DanielKids.org.
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