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Jordain Smith

Jordain Smith - Administrative Assistant, Monroe, MI



Jordain Smith has known she wanted to improve the lives of children for a long time.

"I just have a heart for kids; I've always wanted to help," the Administrative Assistant shared.

But teaching wasn't for her, so she kept turning that desire to help over and over in her mind, trying to find something that felt right. When her cousin became a foster mother, Jordain felt she had finally found the answer.

"I helped her run errands – go out and get clothes or groceries or whatever she needed for the kids," Jordain explained. "Then I started meeting people inside the system who worked to help these kids. I started learning about these children's individual stories, and my heart was drawn to them. These children are put into circumstances they cannot help, most likely due to family things outside their control, and I just want to provide a safe space for them to go."

So, Jordain started a new journey to become a licensed foster mother in Michigan. The process took her about two years to complete – between training, home visits, licensure interviews, and preparing her home for future foster children.

"Through the approval process and all training, I learned how important foster homes are to children in our community – they provide a safe, nurturing, and loving place for children who are temporarily unable to be with their families," she shared.

It was a long journey, but one that was well worth it when Jordain and her son welcomed a 7-year-old boy into their home.

"There's a lot of adjustment that needs to happen – just like when you add a new baby into your home," Jordain explained. "Sure, you have all the furniture, but have you prepared for the sleepless nights or the feeding schedule? With foster children, they're still getting over the heartbreak of being separated from their family. It's still fresh; they don't know who you are, you don't know who they are – so you have to figure out how this household is going to work."

But as they all worked to adjust and to build relationships, there have been many successes and moments of celebration.

"He's thriving," she shared. "You see that guard come down, and the child is willing to share with you – and those are monumental moments. Seeing them grow and thrive during those moments and knowing you helped – seeing them get student of the month or join a baseball team when they've never been on one before. It's been a joy to see this child thrive in a healthy environment that will hopefully impact the rest of his life."

She said that being a foster parent has to come from the heart.

"You have to do it for the child – not to help the state or the foster care system," she said. "When you position it that way, you allow a lot less hurt to come to the child."

For those who also have a heart for children but who don't feel fostering is for them, Jordain says there are still ways to get involved.

"These children really do need help," she said. "And while not everyone can be a foster parent, there are so many ways you can give back – they need shoes, clothing, toothpaste, and school supplies. It may seem small, but these are things these children don't have, and the simple act of donating those to your local foster care system could have a big impact."


First Merchants Bank’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility compels us to invest in our communities by finding ways to reduce inequalities, improve the quality of our neighborhoods, and promote positive economic mobility though our five community pillars: Employee Empowerment; Community Investments and Charitable Giving; Financial Wellness; Community Home Lending; and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This series features First Merchants teammates who embody the spirit and impact of the company’s Vision: “to enhance the financial wellness of the diverse communities we serve.”