Laura started being filmed as part of “The Day I Picked My Parents” at 17-years-old. At the time, she had been in foster care for 3 years. “Sometimes I do think about it. Like why am I in the foster system? I don’t want to be here anymore,” she said.
She describes her experience growing up with her mother as lonely, as her mom was constantly working, and Laura wasn’t able to see her often. She also felt like she was taking care of her mom, instead of her mom taking care of her. She realized she wanted more support and desired to be better-taken care of. She still had a strong connection with her mom and saw her once a week, but said: “I know if I was with my mom, things wouldn’t be good.”
Laura never wanted to be adopted, but she felt like she needed a stable adult in her life. She wanted new experiences. “I just want to start fresh,” she said. Her social worker referred her to Kidsave so she could start making positive connections with potential mentors and hosts.
In April of 2018 at her first Kidsave event, Laura met Ann, a caring adult who Laura described as outgoing, fun, and active. “With Ann, I feel like we have a good connection…. As I started spending more time with her and I started getting to know her better, I started liking Ann,” she said.
Ann came to the program looking to help an older child. Her parents were foster parents of several teenage boys. And after sending her children off to college, she committed to helping other older kids who need a place to call home. “People sometimes ask ‘well why does a 17-year-old want to be adopted or want to have a family?’ They want a home to come home to, just like our kids come home for their years in the future. That doesn’t just end when you turn 18, to want that kind of family.”
In October, after getting to know each other several months at Kidsave events, Ann and Laura were matched for a hosting relationship and they began to spend time together outside of Kidsave events, on the weekend.
“I like being with her. She’s really cool,” said Laura. “I feel like she is a lady of her word. If she says she’s going to do something, she will. I really trust her.
After spending several weekends together, things went so well that Laura decided she was ready to move in with Ann. She moved in at Christmas time. She still didn’t want to be adopted and moved in as a foster placement.
“I am feeling excited, happy to start a new journey with her. I don’t know, I feel like this is home. I can call it home,” said Laura when she moved in.
While Laura lived with her, Ann supported Laura in maintaining her relationship with her mom and focused her attention on getting Laura the academic help she needed to be on track to graduate high school. She was behind in her studies and found it difficult to catch up. Sometime in the spring, Laura stopped going to school and was not conforming to Ann’s house rules.
Laura turned 18 in May and decided she no longer wanted to be part of the foster care system and decide to leave and go live with her mom.
Looking back, Ann feels that although their relationship was great, “I think there was strong nostalgia for wanting a chance at family again.”
Laura left the foster care system after she turned 18 and is believed to be living with her mother.
Laura has not graduated from high school and is not in contact with Ann. Ann says her home and her support will always be open to Laura if she chooses to re-establish the relationship. “You are welcome here, all you have to text and come on over,” said Ann.