It’s a pity that so many teenagers spend years of their lives in foster care without ever finding a permanent family.
According to the National Foster Youth Institute, more than 23,000 children will age out of the foster care system in the United States each year, with many ending up homeless.
After spending the equivalent of ten years or 3,739 days in foster care, Akyra thought she would become one of these awful statistics.
When she met Katie Holstein, a single mother from Kentucky who had fostered 16 children since 2017, the now 17-year-old had resided in 24 different foster homes.
“In January of 2017, I began the process of becoming a licensed foster parent.” Katie told Love What Matters, “I wanted to be a mom, and I was tired of waiting for Mr. Right to make it happen.”
“I imagined I’d foster for a few years, help reunite some families, and maybe get to say yes to anything for the rest of my life.”
Katie had never fostered a child older than six years old until she received a call from her “favorite social worker” with a unique request.
“I know you don’t deal with teenagers, but I’ve got this girl.” She’s wonderful; all she and her present foster family need is a break. “How about simply for the weekend?” says the narrator.
Katie’s 16-year-old daughter, Akyra, or Okra as Katie refers to her, ended up staying with Katie for a week and a few other brief breaks until her placement ended.
Katie couldn’t take on another full-time foster child because she already had a full house with five foster kids, all under the age of five.
Katie enabled Akyra to stay with her as many times as she could since she knew how crucial it was to have a home while finishing high school.
The young girl was bold enough to ask Katie a question over a year after they first met. Akyra inquired about her feelings about adopting an adolescent.
“I believe that was a pivotal moment for her since she made that decision entirely on her own. She acquired a say in what she desired after so many years of having no say in where she lived.”
So, just three days before Akyra’s 17th birthday, Katie officially adopted her.
The adoption ceremony was done through Zoom, but Katie didn’t only adopt Akyra that day; she also adopted Thomas, or Tiny, a one-year-old who Katie had cared for since he was six days old.
Katie considers herself extremely fortunate that Akyra picked her to be her mother.
“Despite the fact that she had been in foster care for a long time and had been disappointed, she took a risk on me and my family and allowed herself to be loved once more.”
“I respect the fact that she has her own life experiences and opinions; I’m not a controlling mother.” It was a steep learning curve for both of us, and we’re still learning, but it was well worth the effort.”
Their story is extremely sweet since these two picked one other. I hope it serves as an example to others of how much love you are allowing into your life by fostering a kid.
Please spread the word.