“Living in a group home, I’m used to being by myself. I’m used to being ignored and left alone,” says 16-year-old Angelicia.
Angelicia has found ways to find solitude and a measure of peace within the “loud, chaotic place,” that is her Los Angeles group home. She has been without a stable family or adult connection in her life since the age of 9, when her mother was sent to prison. Growing up in foster care, Angelicia often felt that other kids her age didn’t understand her. Because of this, she remained aloof and distant from her peers, never really opening up to them or allowing them to get to know her.
Angelicia says she has thought about adoption, but confesses that she worries that her chances of finding an adoptive family are very slim. She participates in Kidsave’s Weekend Miracles program to get away from her group home and have a chance to have some fun. On her way to a Weekend Miracles event, she met Cynthia, a volunteer driver. The two clicked immediately.
Cynthia has five daughters of her own and nine grandchildren, two of whom had been adopted from foster care. Three years ago, Cynthia joined the Weekend Miracles program to make a difference in a foster child’s life.
“As soon as I met Angelicia, I knew she was a smart, kind and thoughtful young woman. I also saw her great sense of humor and her resiliency,” Cynthia says.
Angelicia and Cynthia formalized their Kidsave hosting relationship and began to spend their weekends together going to the movies and camping with Cynthia’s family. Visiting Cynthia’s home is where Angelicia discovered a true haven. She found that she was able to relax and enjoy the quiet, and soon began looking up to Cynthia as a mentor and a friend – someone she could count on to be there for her.
“I was pleasantly surprised by how natural my relationship feels with Angelicia.” Cynthia says. “I can be myself with her, and I feel she can do the same… [Hosting Angelicia has] made me realize more than I had before how people are more alike than different, regardless of their particular background or culture. On the surface, Angelicia and I would have little in common, but in fact, we have a lot.”
Although Cynthia is not able to adopt Angelicia, she continues to be a staunch advocate and mentor and is determined to help find her a forever family. “I am excited to see what the future holds. She wants to go to college and has inspiring goals. I hope to see her achieve them.”
For Angelicia, who has learned from Cynthia to keep faith that adoption could still happen for her, now reminds herself frequently that “family doesn’t always have to be blood-related. Family means to be there for somebody…they want the best for you.”
One thing is clear –no matter what the future may bring– her host, Cynthia will be there for her.
Watch episode 4 of “The Day I Picked My Parents” to see Angelicia’s story.