"My life has been a roller coaster ride"
A 20-year-old foster care alum talks about how her family supported her success.
April 19, 2018
Twenty-year old Tricia Spellmon is sharing her story to inspire other children in foster care and families considering adoption.
I was put into the foster care system when I was born. I was very premature, and the doctors did not expect me to live past a week.
Twenty years later, here I am! And I could not have done it without my adoptive parents.
Forever family after four years in foster care
I lived in several foster homes before I was placed with my parents when I was two years old. They adopted me when I was four. I was their fifth child—they already had four sons by birth. When they adopted me, they also adopted my younger sister. Later, they adopted three more girls, who are all younger than me.
My parents and brothers are white. I am African American, and my sisters are of mixed race. I am the middle child of eight.
Growing up, being part of a big family was great! I was never alone and had lots of support and encouragement.
But being part of family that people don’t understand was hard sometimes. When we all went to the store on family trips, it was easy to notice people staring. I could tell they didn’t understand how we could all be one family.
When I look at my brothers, sisters and parents, I’ve never seen skin color. We have always been able to look past it, which makes our bond even more unique.
Meaning of family
Of course, there were times that I felt I was missing out because I was adopted. It didn’t seem fair that other people knew their birth parents and didn’t always have to explain their family. There were times I thought, if my birth parents didn’t love me, nobody is going to love me.
My parents helped me work through all of that. They were always honest with me and answered all of my questions about being adopted. They taught me that blood does not define a family; unconditional love does. They encouraged me to always stand up for myself.
My parents helped me realize that it doesn’t matter where I came from. It’s where I’m going. And knowing where I came from makes me want to work harder, because I want to do better than my birth parents did. I have a dream and a vision that I am continuously working towards.
Beating the odds
In high school I was on the honor roll freshman through senior year. I was cheer captain and in several different clubs and organizations. Today, I am finishing my sophomore year of college and have never missed the dean's list. I am part of the National Honor Society and vice president of my school's fashion club, along with being a member of many other clubs.
I plan on graduating from college early with a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising and a minor in management. One day I hope to open my own charity for children in foster care.
My life has definitely been a roller coaster ride. If I was not adopted, I do not believe I would have had the same opportunities that I’ve had. There are so many children out there who will never get a chance at being something great. All it takes is a loving family who is willing to fight for the child in a way that they are not used to.
I am one success story, but with the help of foster and adoptive parents, there can be more like mine.
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