Foster mother helps biological mother reunify her family


The child welfare system works hard to get children back with their biological parents when it’s in their best interest. We learned about how a bond between two mothers made it possible for one Southwest Florida family.

It was a tough start for mother Maria Jiganu and her twins Anastasia and Anthony.

“I came to a fork in the road, and I chose my children, and I chose motherhood,” Jiganu said.

At just three months old, while Jiganu worked to overcome a drug addiction, the twins went to live in a foster home.

“I knew that I couldn’t do anything else with my life except for focus on getting reunified with them and getting my life together,” Jiganu said.

Not only did July Arango make room in her home for two babies, she opened her doors to their mother.

“I would say, ‘Hey come with me to the doctors visits,’ and I would meet her there,” Arango said. “And, when the doctors would talk to us, I would tell her, ‘Hey this is mom. She’s going to answer the questions.’ Because she has to feel like she’s part of the team.”

The Children’s Network of Southwest Florida says the No. 1 goal in the child welfare system is “getting kids back to their parents, back to their culture and heritage,” said Nadereh Salim, the CEO of Children’s Network of Southwest Florida. “Life presents itself with its challenges, and what’s important is we have systems and support and caring people there to help people get back on the right track.”

For Anastasia and Anthony that came by way of two moms working together for their benefit.

“I’m so happy for them because they deserve to be with their parents,” Arango said. “They have a loving mom, a loving father.”

The Children’s Network of Southwest Florida says, since June 2019, 87% of children in its care were reunified with their parents. The agency says it’s always in need of foster parents.

“I’m just so thankful that she was the one that fostered my children,” Jiganu said.