After watching the movie “Instant Family” featuring Mark Wahlberg and reading an article about how many kids in Medina County were struggling to find homes, the Collins family – Chris and Christina, and their 4 biological children – decided to jump in with both feet.
“My background is in education,” says Christine. “I was a high school English teacher. And I've always loved working with teenagers. When I saw that article, I said to Chris, ‘We have this house, we have the space, we have a nice amount of patience. If there's anything we can contribute, then let's give it a try.’”
Now, the Collins’ family has provided care for 11 kids, mostly teens, since November 2021. And they adopted one of them.
This decision to open up their home to children who needed one has impacted every member of the family.
“Even our 5 year old gets involved,” says Chris. “We had one foster child who didn’t know how to buckle his seatbelt, so he helped him out.”
Christine echoes the sentiment.
“We thought it was important to model this value to our kids. That it's our job to take care of each other as people. That’s what being part of a community means. To take care of others when you have the capacity and ability.”
The Collins family had to go through training and education through Medina County Job and Family Services in order to foster/adopt. So they know what it’s like to go from the desire to foster to actually doing it.
“When we were going through training, one of the things that we talked about was our biggest fears,” admits Christine "We were afraid of damage.”
“There's definitely a stigma, especially with older kids, that there’s always violence or there’s the fear factor,” agrees Chris. “But the kids that we've had, especially the older ones, have been nothing but sweet kids. They just want a home.”
Once the family had a few placements, they experienced the wealth of information, resources and tools that were available to the teens.
“Medina County JFS does a good job of getting resources to the families,” says Christine. “I appreciate that their goal is to do everything possible and to exhaust all options to make reunification happen. That's our goal as foster parents, too.”
“We’ve been able to enroll our foster teens in lots of programs so they get the help they need,” agrees Chris.
When asked what is their favorite thing about fostering or adopting, the couple was quick to answer.
“For me, it's been the unique perspectives on life and the diversity that we've encountered,” says Chris.
Christine lit up as she answered the question.
“They know that we will always worry about them. We will always care about them. It doesn't matter where they go, we're going to be here for them. I hope that's been the biggest impact for every teen that’s spent time in our home.”
For more information about fostering or adopting, contact Medina County JFS.« Back to Blog