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Shield HealthCare Caregiver Spotlight: Former Orphan Dedicates Her Life To Fostering & Adopting Children

Gina Flores
Caregiver Advocate | Shield HealthCare
07/13/12  4:22 PM PST

Caregiver Story Spotlight | Shield HealthCare “What Makes Caregiving Rewarding?” Contest Winner, 2006

Winning story by Jill R.

“Watching a child realize for the first time that their lives were forever changed because of one simple act of love is the most rewarding experience I can think of. In an instant my life was forever changed. Forty-four years ago my family’s home burnt to the ground. After the fire was put out it was discovered that my siblings and I would be orphaned. We were sent to an orphanage, lonely and sad. Growing up being made fun of for being the “poor orphan child” I was determined that I would take those experiences and turn them into something positive. I wanted to not only make something of myself but give back to a world that is hurting.

At about the age of 10, I realized that what I really wanted to do with my life is to be a Mom. You see, I knew what it was like to not have a mom. I figured no one would probably ever marry me but I knew I could be a mom. Over the next 8 years, I learned that through God I had great value and that He had a plan for my life. I met and married a wonderful man who truly loved me. Before marrying we decided that everyone wanted to adopt white healthy babies but most people did not set out to adopt the “unwanted.” We committed from that day forward that at some point we would adopt special needs children.

Over the next 29 years we adopted or were in the process of adopting 6 children from all different backgrounds. We have adopted one right from the hospital; we have adopted special needs babies because they were the “wrong color” or had other major medical problems that were deemed to be unadoptable. We have held our year old son in our arms and watch him slip away from this life and realize that he was on this earth for a short time to learn what real love was. I would not trade that experience for all the money on this earth.

We have taken two who were already half grown and were in and out of jail and treatment facilities and loved them when they didn’t love themselves. We have had 23 foster children over 12 years. Some we had a part in finding adoptive homes for and some we helped the birth parents get their lives turned around so they could parent their children successfully. We continue to get precious notes each year from some of these children thanking us for being their Nana and Papa. We have struggled alongside our teenage son who is struggling to find purpose in a life after drugs and gangs ripped his birth family apart. Someday he will finally “get it” and realize what a gift he has been given. We have stood by our sons who were adopted from different heritages struggle through who they really are only to come to the realization that it is what is under the color of their skin that makes all the difference in the world. It is rewarding when our adult daughter, who now has three children of her own call and thank us for the gift of life and we see the next generation really make a difference. I could have been a brain surgeon but in this life we all have choices. I chose to make a difference in the life of one child and God blessed me with over 30 instead. That is reward enough for me.”

Shield HealthCare | Medical Supplies For Care At Home Since 1957

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