Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs. The ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile, and who love you no matter what.
One of the dreams of many foster youth is simple, to be connected with others who will care about them; not just right now but a forever family who is also there down the line when they make the scary transition into adulthood at the young age of 21. When many youth emancipate from foster care once they turn 21, they are forced to make decisions and choices without the safety net of a family standing behind them that many of us had at the same age, and the consequences if they head in the wrong direction are much greater. Think about when you were 21 and had a question about some of the scary things about being an adult such as how much your electric bill should be, guidance on how to shop for your first apartment or a shoulder to cry on when you got into your first car accident. Most of us had an adult in our corner to support us when things got rough.
For one of our youth, she has found a forever family in her former foster mother. Lashina entered our Family Ties Therapeutic Foster Care Program as a teen and entered the foster home of Ms. Joyner the summer before she aged out of foster care. Although she was only in her home for a short time, the bond between Lashina and Ms. Joyner was immediate and when she left Ms. Joyner’s home at the age of 21, Lashina knew that if things got rough, she would have Ms. Joyner to turn to. In Ms. Joyner, Lashina had found a forever family. After staying with friends for a few months, Lashina found herself in a bad situation with nowhere to turn and called Ms. Joyner for advice. Ms. Joyner’s advice to Lashina was to come home, so she did. Today, Lashina continues to reside with Ms. Joyner as she gets back on her feet and figures out what she plans to do with her future. For Lashina and Ms. Joyner, the bond they formed did not end when Lashina turned 21; they are now and forever will be a family.
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