A MOTHER of six who has taken more than 40 foster children into her Ipswich home is a state finalist in the Barnardo's Mother of the Year contest.
Ripley mum Michelle Covele grew up as a foster child herself.
“I had three foster families and one was particularly positive,” she said.
At her foster mother's deathbed, Michelle vowed to become a carer.
Nine children currently live in the Covele household, with the youngest girl arriving weeks ago.
Mrs Covele has been a foster mum for the past five years.
“I get enjoyment out of seeing where kids have come from and what we can offer them,” she said.
“It is rewarding, but it is also very challenging.
“They all come with baggage.
“Foster kids need a lot more attention than natural children.
“I think it's a blessing to be able to give to kids.”
Mrs Covele's friend Kathryn Martin sent in a nomination for the award.
“All Michelle's children are treated equally and they are her first priority,” Ms Martin said.
“She always has a smile on her face and has the biggest heart and generous nature.”
Mrs Covele, 42, is among three Queensland women vying for the title of Mother of the Year.
The Westside Christian College teacher has her eye on the top prize.
“We need a car desperately – that would be really good,” she said.
The Queensland winner will be announced tomorrow morning.
Linda Karger, of Birkdale, and Jan Kime, of Childers, are the other finalists.
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