Mid-Michigan family of eight shares story, brings awareness to foster care
There are more than 1400 kids in need of foster homes here in Michigan, according to the foster care organization Samaritas.
Officials said many of these children are in the system because their parents struggle with addiction.
Now one mid-Michigan family, The Ide's, is working to being awareness this foster care month.
The Ide family was originally a family of seven, but now there's eight of them.
The six kids, ranging from four to 13, spend most of their time playing in the backyard on the trampoline.
The Ide's said a child's life should be care-free, but for seven-year-old Jasmine that wasn't always the case.
"Her dad struggled with addiction and she actually found him one day when she came home from school and he was passed out," Tina Ide said.
Jasmine's Aunt Tina and Uncle Daryl opened up their home and their hearts to Jasmine, giving her a safe place to live while her father worked on himself.
"You know I said right to him, 'I love Jasmine, but that's your daughter and I want you to get better, so you could be with her," Daryl said to Jasmine's father, who is his older brother.
But Jasmine's father didn't get better.
Instead, he ended up overdosing and didn't make it.
Her mother also disappeared back in 2011.
With that said, Daryl and Tina made it their mission to make Jasmine feel like one of their own.
"When she first came, it was funny," Daryl said. "She called me 'uncle daddy' for the longest time. Just recently, within the last month or so, the uncles went away and she calls me daddy now."
It's a simple gesture; however, to the Ide's, it makes them feel accepted.
They said they feel like they're truly making a difference in Jasmine's life.
"She didn't know that daddy's aren't dizzy all the time or sleep all the time," Tina said. "When she first got here, she said, 'You always watch me.' I'm like, 'It's my job.'"
The job of a foster parent may not be an easy one, but it is one that's needed.
Officials said there are a number of children in the same position as Jasmine.
"A good majority of the cases that are referred to us through the state of Michigan do have some sort of substance abuse problem, whether it's opioids, marijuana or prescription," a Samaritas rep said.
The Ide's leave parents with the following message:
"If someone's struggling with addiction, you can choose whether to see your daughter grow up or not," Tina said. "He doesn't get to now. It's worth it to see them grow."
The Ide's are in the process of trying to legally adopt Jasmine.
For those interested in fostering, there is an orientation in Flint on Tuesday, May 15 at 10:30 a.m. and another at 5:30 p.m.
For more information, click here.