FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – If you think there is a ‘right time’ to be a parent, you might want to think again. For Jaime Richardson, she believed that she might not ever rise to the challenge of being a mom.

“I wasn’t extremely confident that I was going to be an amazing mom,” Richardson said. “Just because I was young, early 20s, so foster care seemed like a great way to kind of dip my toe into parenting,” said Richardson.

Jaime Richardson, with one of her sons, Zephaniah.

It all started when Jaime and her husband Chris fostered their first child in 2007.

“From the placement of our first child, I just fell in love with being a mom,” said Richardson.

15 years later, the Richardson family grew, by 13. But, the Richardson family is going to continue to grow.

“We have 14 at home right now, and we’re in the process of adopting number 15, out of Indiana foster care,” Richardson said.

14 children alone, is difficult. The Richardson family faces even more challenges, nine of the children have special needs. The disabilities they live with are Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism, Epilepsy, Genetic abnormalities, Blindness, Partial Deafness, G-tube dependency, Trach dependency, and learning differences.

“That’s part of my role as their mom is helping them find the supports that they need,” said Richardson. “Some, particularly for us, my kids have a lot of medical needs, we’ve adopted a lot of medically fragile children,” Richardson said. “Learning how to navigate those systems and get them the medical care they need,” explained Richardson.

Through the struggles they face every day, more blessings and triumphs shine through with each of the kids.

“Every milestone gets to be such an experience and such a celebration, a first step, a smile, you know, speaking for the first time,” Richardson explains. “That’s a huge blessing of parenting my tribe is that I get to experience so many firsts with them and really get to celebrate them,” said Richardson.

The Richardson family has lived in many places, including New York, where six of the children were from foster care. But they have also been adopted from counties around the world, three are from Ukraine, and twins from China. One child was adopted as an embryo, which Richardson was able to be pregnant with, and one through private domestic adoption.

But, one of their children comes from Indiana Foster Care. Where the Richardson family has learned there are many children that need loving homes in Indiana, which is why they are in the process of adopting their fifteenth child.

The Indiana Adoption Program recruits children that are in need of adoptive and permanent families. Program Manager, Michelle Savieo says their goal is to find permeant homes for close to 200 children in Indiana, also for another 80 children that are placed in licensed foster homes.

“Currently, we have 168 children in the state of Indiana, who are on our adoption recruitment website, so what that means is those children have a goal of adoption, and we don’t have a home for them,” said Savieo. “We’re looking for permanent families for those children, we also have another group of children that are not completely available for adoption, those children, the courts are pending termination of parental rights proceedings until we can find an adoptive home,” Savieo said. “There’s another 80 children, for those children, we have to place them in licensed foster homes,” said Savieo.

When Jaime Richardson was asked, what advice she would give to first-time parents or parents looking to adopt, she said with a smile, ‘build your tribe.’

“Build your tribe, build your community, find people in your life who have gone through adoption, who you can ask the hard questions to. Ask those questions, be well read and well informed of what a child is going through that is adopted even as an infant the loss of trauma, so that you can be the support when needed.”

Jaime Richardson , Mother of 14

Program Manager, Michelle Savieo, explains how easy and rewarding foster care and adoption can be for anyone who is interested.

“Anybody can adopt, as long as they can pass those background checks, but children need families and families don’t have to know everything upfront that we will work to help them and prepare them for the process,” Savieo explains.

So, will the Richardson family grow?

“We said we were done at nine, so we’re at the point of, we don’t say never, we’re just open to whatever we feel God’s calling us to do as a family,” Richardson said.