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Aug. 21, 2021

Finding a Forever Family at 18 Years Old


Many teenagers don’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, where they will spend the night, or who their family is.

Teens in foster care do.

The sad truth is that the older a child gets, the harder adoption becomes. Foster parents and people seeking to adopt choose children, not teens. The numbers are devastating, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t happy endings for some of these teenagers.

Meet Karleigh – 18 Years Old

One teen, Karleigh, finally found her forever home at 18 years old after “what seemed like an eternity.”

Even though the Baldwin family had legal temporary custody of Karleigh since she was 11, they were not able to make it official until this past July 25th. Karleigh said,

Knowing that it’s officially on paper, nothing that can take it away, it just gives me that warm feeling inside, like yes those are my parents, officially.

Karleigh’s adopted mom, Keia Jones-Baldwin, wanted to “break down color barriers through adoption,” and could not wait to make the adoption official.

Saying Goodbye to the Foster Care System

Growing up in foster care, she gave insights to her experience. She said,

I was never stable. It was always not knowing where my next meal would come from, not knowing if I was going to be alone that night or have a bed to sleep on… Knowing I was coming home getting three meals a day, getting loved, having family functions, a big family — I wasn’t used to that.

She grew up with trauma and with the fear that she won’t know where she will be the following night. This is something no child should have to experience, yet in the foster care system, many kids have similar experiences.

Ever since she met her adopted mom when she was 11, she has been a role model and mother figure in Karleigh’s life. She looks up to her and is so happy that she no longer has to worry about getting her basic needs met. Keia, Karleigh’s adopted mom,

Shines a positive light on fostering, adoption and kinship care.

Instead of worrying about where her next meals are coming from, Karleigh is preparing to be a freshman at North Carolina Central University. Congrats Karleigh!

Teen Adoption- The Dream of a Forever Family

Karleigh explains what it means to adopt a teenager. She said, “there are also a lot of children out there at an older age who also need forever homes.” Speaking to the teens who are in the same position she was in, she stated,

I want them to know I’m 18 and I just got adopted, it’s never over. Don’t lose hope. There is always someone out there for you.

Thankfully, Karleigh’s found the forever family she deserves. After years of trauma in the foster care and legal systems, she finally has a forever home!

If you are interested in learning more about adopting a teen or fostering to adopt, check out these resources!

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