My First Mother’s Day: Carina Garcia’s Story

Mother’s Day is always a special time of the year where we celebrate the important moms in our life. It’s the one day where we can solely appreciate moms everywhere for all they do and see us through. For sixteen year old Carina, she will soon be celebrating her first Mother’s Day, but it may not be the way she originally thought she would spend this special day.

Carina and daughter
Carina and her baby daughter Natalie

Carina entered the foster care system in December, 2015 after previously spending time in a juvenile detention system. When Carina was released in December from the juvenile justice program, she thought she would be going back home, but instead due to bad situations involving drugs that had taken place with her family, she was released to Eckerd. After spending a short while in the Alpha House of St. Pete, she was then transferred to The Children’s Home in order to be closer to her six siblings and other family members in Tampa.

When Carina entered into foster care at The Children’s Home, she was seven months pregnant with her first child. Luckily enough, The Children’s Home maintains a brand new maternity home that had recently opened in December, 2015. Their maternity home is the only licensed maternity facility for foster children in Hillsborough County, and Carina just happened to be their second client.

On February 11, Carina welcomed her new baby girl, Natalie, into the world, and she was the first baby born at the maternity home. Now, with nine other teen moms and seven other young children, Carina spends her days at The Children’s Home caring for Natalie. Carina says, “Each day is like a recorder, it’s all the same, but I’m lucky to have the different classes and therapy sessions offered to me to keep me busy.”

Carina is looking forward to her first Mother’s Day with Natalie and said, “All I want is to spend the day with Natalie, my mother and my grandmother. “ As time passes, the future is looking hopeful for Carina. She recently enrolled back in school and plans on finishing her high school degree. In addition, she hopes to be back home with her mom soon after the parenting classes and her mother’s treatment plan are finished.

While Carina awaits her much anticipated reunion with her family, she does continue to visit with them each weekend. She also spends much of her time at The Children’s Home cooking for the other moms. Carina loves to cook and hopes one day to become a chef!

Carina grew up caring for her four younger siblings so luckily she does have experience taking care of young children, unlike other moms might have. Carina has decided to turn her life around for the best and said, “If you put your mind to it and you really love your child, then you will get out of any bad situation you are in”. Her advice to other teen moms and/or foster children who may be living in a group home is to focus on yourself and your body, treat others the way you want to be treated and always respect others.