“Many people thought I was going to break when I went into foster care,” says 19-year-old Melanie. “But I knew that I was strong enough to become the person I wanted to be.”
At age 15, Melanie entered the child welfare system and was placed with a foster family. “I was nervous and a little bit scared,” Melanie remembers. “They were strangers to me, but I was hoping for the best.”
What Melanie found was an understanding, giving family. “It was very different from what I was used to,” Melanie says. “It was very calm and peaceful.”
Melanie’s foster mom, Lourdes, loved and supported her. “She looked out for me as if I was her daughter,” says Melanie. “We developed almost a family bond.” Lourdes made sure that Melanie went to school on time, did her homework and got tutoring when she needed it.
In high school, Melanie enrolled in a health care class. “I took the class not knowing I wanted to be in the medical field,” she says. The course convinced Melanie to pursue a nursing career.
Her Wayfinder social worker and Lourdes guided Melanie through applying for college admission and financial aid. As she approached age 18, they gave her increasing responsibility so she could become more independent.
After three years with her foster family, it was time to say goodbye. “They were sad when I left,” Melanie recalls. “I was ready to build my own life.” Today, Melanie is living on her own and enrolled in college. She is focused on her future.
Melanie was right. She is strong. And the support of a loving foster family helped her build an independent life.
January 24, 2019