The Nissel Family
Koa, Michelle, Zoey, Rachelle

Our Life Story

1996: Michelle and Rachelle, also know as The Shells met in middle school in Akron, Ohio. We were inseparable until…

1998: Rachelle moved from Ohio to Florida with her family. Although, we were 1200 miles apart, we remained best friends.

Over the next 10 years, we both faced numerous challenges and accomplished goals while keeping in contact anyway we could and visiting as much as possible.

  • Rachelle battled ovarian cancer, got married to her high school sweet heart (they later divorced), and earned a bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education from Florida International University.
  • Michelle graduated from the Ohio Center for Broadcasting and was working part-time as a DJ. She wanted to be a DJ on a cruise ship, so she moved to Florida with Rachelle.

2007: We fall in love all over again and become a couple. We then decided it was time to move back home to Ohio.

2009: The Shells buy a house and bask in their happiness.

2010: We get married, although it is not legal in Ohio.

Then, Rachelle says “Hey…I have an idea. Let’s become foster parents.” Little did we know what an impact that simple decision would have on our lives. We took classes, prepared the house, had a home study and began our journey into the world of foster care in 2011.

November 2011: We get a call from children’s services. We instantly bonded with a 5 pound baby boy named Koa. We finalized the adoption on July 15, 2013. He is now an intelligent beyond his years 7 years old.

2016: We get legally married in Ohio thanks to the Supreme ruling.

August 2016: We get a call from children’s services and are introduced to a very chunky little 4 month old baby girl. We finalized Zoey’s adoption in December 2017. She is now a very independent three year old that keeps us on our toes.

September 2018: After 30 foster placements over 7 years, we get yet another important call that would change our family forever. Zoey’s 3 month old baby brother needed a home.

Present Day: We are currently in the process of adopting JJ. Zoey and JJ are inseparable and it has been a joy to see how much they are alike but still have their own personalities. Koa takes his role of big brother very serious and always tries to take care of his younger siblings.

Soon, we will be a complete family of 5 but will continue to foster. In addition to fostering, Rachelle is teaching high school English, is the President of the Summit County Foster Parent Association. Michelle is a part time stay at home mom managing the many appointments for our 7 kids and managing our family’s historical movie theater.

We have a passion for our family and friends, travel, crafting, DIY, healthy living, camping, educating, community and foster care. We want to share our stories, tips and tricks and general knowledge about how we not only manage the chaos of our life, but smile through the unexpected.