Life
17-year-old girl spent 3,379 days in 24 different foster homes finally gets adopted
So many teens in the foster care system never get to experience love and safety in a forever home. We're so happy for her!
Jake Manning
12.08.21

Being a parent is one of the most difficult yet rewarding jobs in the world.

There is nothing in this life that can prepare us how to be good parents. One thing is certain though, the children must always come first and receive our love and support.

According to ifoster there is around 424,000 foster youth in the country while the average age of the kids is 6 ½ years old. Although, there is a common misconception about the image of foster kids as “troubled” teenagers, in fact, the majority of the kids in the system are really young children, taken away from families as they were deemed unfit.

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Our story is going to restore your faith in humanity as it shows that people truly have the power to change the lives of others in a positive way if they are determined to do so. And, it also proves that “parents” aren’t only the ones that give birth but the ones ready to undertake the challenge and willing to love a child, even if he/ she isn’t really theirs.

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Meet Katie Holstein who in 2017 decided that she wanted to become a mother although she wasn’t married nor had a partner. So, she decided what a better way to become a mom than becoming a foster mom and helping families in need.

“I wanted to be a mom, and I was tired of waiting around for Mr. Right to make it happen. I figured I would foster for several years, help reunite some families, and maybe eventually get to say yes to forever,” she said in a piece she wrote for Love What Matters.

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Eight months later her application was approved and directly she fostered two young brothers. Over the span of the next three years, Katie fostered more than 16 children, trying to avoid taking on teenagers because of the stereotypical “horror” stories that went around about their troubled and rebellious nature.

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However, her attitude towards teenagers changed when she was asked to help out a young teenage girl called Akyra. As Katie later confessed, “I got the call on March 9, 2019, from my favorite social worker. She said, ‘I know you don’t do teens, but I have this girl. She’s great, her and her current foster family just need a break. What about just for the weekend?”.

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Katie was hesitant at first as her house was already full of kids under the age of 5, including a small baby that was coming directly from the NICU named Thomas, whom they decided to call “Tiny” as he was so small. However, as she wanted to help out, she decided to accept Akyra into her home.

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Akyra adapted directly in the household and everyone immediately was taken with her as she was with them. The younger kids started calling her “big friend”, while she and Katie bonded over their shared interests.

Over the next few months, Akyra would be a recurring figure in the house, coming and going, often staying for a week here and there, as she moved from one foster home to another.

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Soon, Katie realized that she wanted to help Akyra and give her a chance to a real home at least until her 18th birthday when Akyra would officially leave the system. “The plan became for her to stay with me until she graduated in about a year and then go into independent living, which is an amazing program our state runs,” Katie explained.

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According to Katie the “Independent living” scheme “allows teens who are going to age out to choose to recommit themselves to the cabinet until they’re 22. They get set up with housing, a stipend, mentors, help with jobs, school, etc. Basically, it allows them to have a slow, guided transition into adulthood instead of being expected to fend for themselves at 18”.

That would have been an ideal solution for Akyra’s case until Katie decided that she would love to have Akyra in her family permanently. Prompted by a question made by Akyra, Katie decided to officially adopt the teenager and baby Thomas, after Akyra had requested it.

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So, three days before Akyra’s 17th birthday, she became an official Holstein. What a nice end to such a beautiful story. Now, Akyra and Thomas have finally found their forever home and Katie has finally the family she always wanted!

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Let’s close this story on Katie’s own words, “If I had waited for the ‘right time,’ I would have missed my kiddos. I promise you, there are children in your community right now who need a safe place to land, and they’re not going to care you’re on a budget, have a small house, aren’t married, or are still trying to figure this whole parenting thing out. They need willing families, not perfect ones”.

How incredible and beautiful is this story? It shows hope, love, and compassion in so many ways. Please share with your friends and family!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Jake Manning
[email protected]
Jake Manning is a senior writer at Shareably. He can be reached at [email protected]
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