Thousands of teens in foster care are in need of love, support and encouragement that other teens receive from their families during this critical time in their lives. Read this sweet story from America’s Kids Belong and reminder of the importance of family at every step of childhood.⠀
I got the call on March 9, 2019, from my favorite social worker. She said, “I know you don’t do teens, but I have this girl. She’s great, her and her current foster family just need a break. What about just for the weekend?”
I wanted to help, so I said yes and we just clicked. I loved having someone around who shared my love of Twilight and sleeping in late. I did respite for her several times over the next few months. That fall, she came to me temporarily for about a week when her foster home put in their notice.
In March of 2020, almost exactly a year from that first call, I got another call. Respite, just for the weekend. Again. I had just taken in a newborn sibling, leaving me with six kids under 6, but I couldn’t say no. There was nowhere else for her to go and she was part of our family at that point. Respite quickly turned into a temporary placement until they could find somewhere long-term.
Then she asked to stay until she aged out. She didn’t want to be adopted at that point. Too many disappointments. She didn’t want to have to move again, either.
A few months later, we were joking around about her future, and she said, “Have you ever thought about adopting a teen?” And the rest was history. 189 days after coming to me for the last time, we said forever. They even managed to squeeze us in 3 days before she turned 17, her one wish not to have to spend another birthday in the system.
Recently, she got invited on an out-of-state trip with one of her friends. I said yes and she quickly reminded me that we needed to call her social worker to get it approved. And then she smiled. She said, “That’s right. You’re my mom now. We don’t have to ask permission from anyone ever again.”
America’s Kids Belong implements innovative initiatives to help ensure that every child is in a loving home. By first identifying who you are – business leader, faith leader, creative leader, government leader – America’s Kids Belong guides you on what steps to take first. That could mean recruiting more foster and adoptive families, engaging wrap-around support, or helping youth who have already aged out reach their full potential.