The Calderon Family

Meet Elivanesa Calderon who was licensed just 4 months ago and received her very first placement two days after being licensed. She jumped right in like a pro and researched daycares, took the siblings to get the necessary immunizations to start daycare and immediately reached out to the birth parents to set up visitation. She put together a last minute birthday party for one of the children whose birthday was week after being placed with her. Elivanesa has such a big heart for children and she advocates for their needs every day.

Elivanesa shares, "I am a single Latina mom, that has been in the education field for the past 17 years. I enjoy working with children and I think teaching was my true calling ever since I was a little girl. As I was teaching in New York a few years ago, I came across what I would say was “a calling” and told one of my friends that I would love to help special needs children in care. She laughed and said “guess what” I work at a Foster Agency that specialized in special needs children. I did a couple of months with a child during COVID, and I will say it was a bitter sweet experience. I said NEVER AGAIN!!!! It is not worth it. Then in July I moved to Florida and started working at an elementary school where I saw how much children and parents need help and that broke my heart. My coworker mentioned Heartland, and a month later (still debating if I wanted to try it again) gave them a call.

In January, two wonderful boys were placed under my care and it has been a definitely bumpy journey. It was very rough at the beginning because I was new to the state, the city and to this foster care agency. I have to thank my re-licensing case manager; she guided me assisted me with everything. The highlight so far was when CM told me that the older sibling is doing such a great job that counseling was going to be removed.

This is what I tell anyone who asks me about this; IT IS HARD! Yes you will have your ups and downs, yes you will cry and stress out but just knowing that you are helping just ONE family counts. The joy it brings to you knowing that you have done more than your best help is truly a gift and joy that is hard to explain. There are families out there that just need an extra set of hands, perspective and help to guide them through a rough patch and why not help? I also want to thank Heartland for all of their help and support, I did not have the best experience with the previous agency but I can only say you guys ROCK!"

If you're interested in learning more about fostering, call 863-519-8900 x 289 or visit