It is a heartbreaking reality that many children and adolescents spend years of their lives in foster care without ever being adopted by the permanent family they so well deserve.
According to the National Foster Youth Institute, every year in the United States, more than 23,000 children will reach the age when they are no longer eligible for foster care. Many of these youngsters will end up homeless.
After being in the foster care system for ten years or 3,739 days, Akyra feared that she would become one of these terrible statistics.
When she finally met Katie Holstein, a single mother from Kentucky who had fostered 16 children since 2017, the now-17-year-old had spent time in 24 different foster homes. Katie has been enabling children since 2017.
The process of becoming a certified foster parent was something I started working on in January of 2017. Katie shared the following with Love What Matters: “I was getting tired of looking for Mr. Right who would make it feasible for me to have a family of my own.
I had been looking forward to fostering for a very long time, bringing some families back together, and ultimately being able to say yes to forever.
Before receiving a phone call from her “favorite social worker” with a specific request for Akyra, Katie had never fostered a child older than six.
“I know you do not have any experience working with adolescents, but I need your help with this girl. She is amazing, but she and her foster family need time off together. What about just for the duration of the weekend?”
Akyra, who is 16 years old and goes by the nickname Okra when she is with Katie, remained with Katie for a week and a couple of extra short breaks up to the time when her placement came to an end.
Katie could not take in a sixth full-time foster kid since her house was occupied by five children under the age of five who needed foster care.
Katie saw how important it was for Akyra to have a place to call home while she was still in high school, so she made it possible for her to spend as much time with her.
The little girl finally worked up the nerve to ask Katie a question after being Katie’s friend for over a whole year. Akyra questioned her feelings towards the practice of adopting adolescents.
“Because she had complete control over her decision, I feel it was a defining moment for her. She had been unable to exercise any control over where she should reside for a significant portion of her life until recently.
Therefore, Katie adopted Akyra permanently three days before her 17th birthday, making the adoption official.
When she was only six days old, Katie took Akyra under her wing, and she took care of Thomas, often known as Tiny, until he was one year old. The adoption ceremony was presided over by Zoom. In addition to Akyra, Katie became the adoptive parent of Thomas, also known as Tiny.
Katie is acutely aware of the good fortune she has had due to Akyra’s selection of her as her mother.
“Even though she had spent a significant amount of time in foster care just to be let down, she took a chance on my family and me and consented to be loved once again.
“She has a lot of her life experiences and viewpoints, which I respect since I’m not a mother who exerts a lot of authority over my children. The work was definitely worth it, even though it was a learning curve for both of us, and we are still learning today.
This couple chose to be together, and the story of how they did it is really touching. When you take in a foster child, you welcome an incredible amount of love into your life, and I hope this post may show others how much love it can bring.
Please pass it forward.