At an early age, Idalia Vazquez felt the need to give back.   While living in New York, she would give food to the homeless every afternoon because it was in her heart to give.  One day, she was approached by a gentleman who explained to Idalia what it meant to be a foster parent.  She felt it was a calling from God.  So it wasn’t to her family’s surprise when she immediately began the process to become a foster parent.

For over 26 years, Idalia has been doing just that.  “The most rewarding aspect of being a foster parent,” Idalia stated, “is when I say I love you to a child and they say I love you more.”  She adds, “I love seeing the children change.  Not that they are perfect, but seeing the change and seeing them happy.”

One night many years ago, a case manager knocked at her door.  She had a baby in her arms.  Idalia was told the baby was born addicted to crack-cocaine, heroine and marijuana.  They didn’t expect the child to live but wanted to make sure the baby girl would die surrounded by love – Idalia’s home would  do just that.  The baby was underweight and suffered from terrible night terrors for years.  That tiny baby who was not expected to survive was adopted by Idalia and is now a bright, healthy woman who is studying to be a nurse in Orlando.

Years later her biological daughter, Elvira Maldonado decided to become a foster parent just like her mother.  She saw an advertisement to become a foster parent and knew she wanted to give these children in need a home.  Her favorite experience is the day she adopted her son Jaden. “There was no way they were going to take him out of my sight,” stated Elvira. “Being a foster parent isn’t an easy job, but it’s very rewarding.  Just remember to be realistic.  You can’t have fake expectation of the kids because every child is different.”

The mother and daughter team has changed the lives of hundreds of children in need over the years.  Idalia stated it best, “Yes, you make a difference in their lives… but they change yours even more.”