Christine and Martin Nguyen both came to the United States as young children with their families. Each had similar experiences as they were not familiar with the language or the culture and what could have been a difficult transition into a new country was eased by the kindness of several benevolent individuals who went out of their way to help them. With the support of kind people, Christine and Martin each began new lives and came to love their new home. They were married and had four children, then they decided to become Volunteer Community Foster Parents at Casa de Esperanza. Christine and Martin eventually adopted their 5th child through Casa. They are also successful business owners of they run The Sweet Boutique Bakery in Sugar Land Town Square. When they reflect on their childhoods and the many forces that helped them be successful, Christine and Martin never forget the help they received from those who asked for nothing in return. They continue to remain involved with Casa de Esperanza as a way of extending the same kindness and care to others that was provided to them so many years ago.
As a licensed foster family in Casa de Esperanza’s community foster care program, the Nguyens welcomed many foster children into their home, completing their service only when their last foster child became available for adoption and they decided to commit to her forever. Because Casa de Esperanza never exchanges money over a child, Christine and Martin were volunteer foster parents and thus were not reimbursed for the care they provided. Although each foster child’s story is different, they were all unsafe before coming into Casa de Esperanza’s care. In their home, the Nguyens’ foster children experienced the love and joy of being a part of a family. They learned what it feels like to be safe during a time in their lives that is crucial for their brain development. They developed healthy attachment and an internal sense of their own value. With nothing more than consistent care and lots of cuddles from all of the Nguyen children, these Casa babies learned to understand that they were worthy of love and protection.
Of her time as a community foster parent, Christine says: “I always felt so much love for the babies that came into our home. I never hesitated to stay up all night, change countless amounts of diapers or hold them in my arms for hours whispering that I loved them so much. It has really been rewarding watching my youngest daughter grow up and seeing that love reciprocated back to me. She is now this rambunctious toddler that entered our home at only a few days old. I cherish all of the morning cuddles, bedtime back rubs, welcome home hugs, and the times when she stares intently into my eyes and tells me, ‘Mom, I just love you so much!’ It makes my heart melt every single time!”
Since experiencing the incredible benefits to their foster children as well as to their biological family, the Nguyens have become involved in the foster care community and are now committed to empowering others to care for these children. They often share their experience with other families interested in providing foster care and use their bakery to promote Casa de Esperanza’s mission. This year, Christine competed on Food Network’s “Spring Baking Championship” and made it to the top 5 contestants. In week two of the competition, she made her now-famous mochi donuts. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Christine began offering these gluten-free donuts to patrons who donated to their diaper and wipe drive, benefiting Casa de Esperanza. The Nguyens were able to donate three vans full of diapers and wipes to Casa de Esperanza’s residential program.
The Nguyens have a message for other families who might be considering providing foster care: “Don’t be afraid! Just try it. These infants and young children need adults to protect them and keep them safe. The benefits that you get in return are so great.”
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a licensed foster family through Casa de Esperanza like the Nguyens, please email Chrystal Hamilton-Dorelien.