The MENTOR Network

Ida Supports the Most Vulnerable Children

Ida lovingly holds Alexandra and cares for her medical needs a Mentor foster parentIda Mehl is a foster parent who has found her purpose in caring for children with the most challenging medical conditions, sometimes even knowing that their conditions may be terminal. The first child she fostered with MENTOR Maryland, a partner of The MENTOR Network, was a little girl named Alexandra, who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. She and her husband Steven adopted Alexandra and were by her side until she passed away.

“We were very happy for each day we got,” said Ida. “There’s always a part of me that really knew what I was here for was to support and give love to the children who are getting the least amount of love. People don’t want to get attached because they are going to leave. I didn’t want any child to leave this world not having been loved.”

While she has fostered with other providers, Ida is passionate about the respect, the personal relationships, peer support groups, and 24/7 support available at MENTOR Maryland. When Ida is in the hospital supporting children in her care, she has found her MENTOR Maryland team supportive and caring, bringing treats and activities books, making sure she’s eating, giving her a moment to get a breath of fresh air.

“My heart was always with MENTOR,” said Ida. “MENTOR was like coming home again.”

Ida has continued to foster during the coronavirus pandemic and currently cares for a toddler with needs including blindness and brain trauma in care. Her team is checking on her and the toddler in her care virtually, helping him to continue developing social bonds. Ida continues to attend sessions with other Mentors virtually for skill development, support, and adult interaction. Through every challenge she is passionate about learning new skills and supporting the unique needs of each child.

“People think they have to be a full-fledged nurse,” said Ida, “But for any child you have to be trained and each child is different.”

Ida was inspired by Alexandra to continue welcoming those who need her most and has actually just completed a renovation on a second bedroom so they can serve more children.

“Alexandra taught me strength, she taught me a greater love than people can actually really understand between the two of us. I learned how to be a strong advocate,” said Ida. “Please go do it. All you can do is offer your love.”

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