COLORADO SPRINGS — May is national foster care month. More foster families are needed in every community across Colorado, according to the Department of Human Services (DHS).

“It’s extremely rewarding,” Colorado Springs Foster Mom Jamie Kopinski said. “It’s helping someone change the trajectory of their life.”

DHS recognized five families for fostering hope and love to Colorado foster kids and Colorado Springs Mom Jamie Kopinski was one of them. She’s wanted to be a foster parent for most of her life since a person in her life helped her become the woman she is today.

“Experiencing that myself gave me the desire that if I could help someone else as an adult, I would choose to do so,” Kopinski explained.

For six years, she’s had 16 kids placed with her. Right now, she has three foster teens besides her own children.

“Every one of them has a story and every one of them holds a special place in our heart. And, you know, we think about them often,” Kopinski added. “They’re incredible people. I have one who wants to be an attorney. I have one who is an incredible artist. It’s just really, really cool.”

DHS says there are 402 children and youth in the foster care system who are waiting to be adopted. Kopinski admits fostering kids can be tough since they’ve likely been through trauma.

“It’s hard, but it’s worth it. The privilege is helping them walk through that and helping them just see that there is a different type of life out there. But also, you know, these are some of the most resilient people, children, and teenagers that you’re ever going to meet,” Kopinski said. “They have hopes. They have dreams they have goals. And to be able to help them accomplish those things is truly an honor.”

She hopes people will consider fostering kids. It’s about being that extra support kids need most while changing their lives for the better.

“Everybody deserves to have someone love them enough that it hurts to say goodbye,” Kopinski added. “But reunification and foster care is always the goal. You always want the kids to be able to go back home because they love their parents. And, you know, people have issues to work through. And if they can get through it and then get to a place where their children can be safe and happy, with them, that’s fantastic.”

Kids Crossing is a child placement agency that was started by foster parents, for foster parents. They can share info on getting certified and tips for connecting with teens who are in placement.