There’s Always Room at the Jenkins’ Table
Starla and Mike Jenkins became foster parents in North Carolina. When a new opportunity brought them to Florida, they knew they wanted to continue welcoming children into their hearts and home in Central Florida. The Jenkins did not waste any time. In the midst of moving across state lines they were trained and licensed with the Children’s Home Society of Florida (CHS) Foster Care team – they received their first placement before all their boxes were unpacked.
With two young biological children of their own, Starla says days can be chaotic, but they have a strong community support system behind them.
“Our CHS Licensing Specialist has connected us to new friends and a strong community of foster families and support groups,” said Starla. “We don’t have family in the area so our community helps us juggle the everyday. It’s hard to ask for help to watch the kids or for an extra set of hands, but it’s just life.”
The Jenkins knew they wanted to become foster parents after the birth of their second daughter.
“We don’t have a lot of money or time and I don’t have a college degree, but we can still be great parents. There’s always an open seat at my table. There’s always room for one more,” said Starla.
The Jenkins family do so much more than welcome children into their home and hearts – they welcome the entire family including moms and dads working to overcome their challenges to bring their kids safely home.
“The best way to love your kids is to love their parents. Let them know that you’re rooting for them, check in on them and give them your love and encouragement too. Be a team.”
Last year, CHS helped more than 1,300 children reunify safely with their families thanks to loving foster families like the Jenkins.
“Being a foster parent is tough and it’s emotional but it’s also simple – it’s giving a child love and nourishment when they need it most. People approach us with their questions and hesitations, but I tell them all they have to do is see for themselves.”
If you’re interested in learning more about fostering, visit chsfl.org/foster.