Lisa and Jorge Alvarez knew they wanted children, so when they found out they couldn’t conceive, they decided to adopt. In the years since, they’ve adopted two children and fostered many, many more. The Miami Herald reports:
The Southwest Miami-Dade, Fla., couple has fostered  kids since they decided to take in a baby boy in hopes of adopting him. Though that didn’t work out – the child was adopted by his aunt – they got lucky with their second placement, a cherubic-faced baby named Natasha whom they adopted soon after her second birthday. Today she’s almost 12.
The Alvarezes also adopted Desi, a baby with myriad health issues including hydrocephalous, cerebral palsy and chronic lung disease. He’s 5 years old now and loves watching Rachael Ray on TV from his wheelchair.
The walls of the Alvarez home are lined with pictures of the children they’ve fostered and the closets are loaded up with supplies for future foster kids. The bond the Alvarezes form with some of the kids they’ve fostered is so strong that they develop lifelong relationships. Vanessa Bello, 29, spent two years with the family as a teenager and now stops by with her daughter to visit:
“They feed you with unconditional love,” Bello says. “They’re so patient, so selfless.”
Katherine Ramos, 23, is another former foster child who stops in several times a week. “You know how they say home is where the heart is? This is where my heart is. This is my home. Lisa and Jorge are like angels walking on earth.”
Local child welfare advocates offer nothing but praise for the family’s dedication:
Oren Wunderman, executive director of the Family Resource Center of South Florida, a child welfare and advocacy agency that provides services to more than 1,000 children, calls the Alvarezes “truly remarkable human beings. Their passion and calling to care for kids who face the most difficult health battles is extraordinary.”
Lisa and Jorge take the gratitude and compliments in stride and make sure to remind others that it’s not just the kids who get something out of the foster care experience:
“I feel like I’m accomplishing something,” Lisa says. “It makes me feel good to know that I’m helping them get better. Besides, these are children who need someone to love them.”
“People tell me, ‘You’re going to heaven,’” says Lisa, with a laugh, “but I’m not going anywhere. I’ve already got heaven here. I have heaven on earth.”