I was so eager for a family
After waiting seven years to be adopted, Mallory was 14 when she finally found a family of her own.
Q&A with Mallory G.
Mallory was 14 when she was adopted from foster care by her mom, Lisa Marie. Now 20, Mallory shares her perspective to give a voice to other teens in foster care who are waiting for a family. Read more of Mallory and Lisa Marie’s adoption story here.
During those seven years when you were in foster care, what were you hoping to find in a family?
My foster care case workers would ask me what I was looking for in a family, and I just wanted someone to take care of me and be with me throughout my life. Someone who would come to my choir concerts and cheer me on.
But as I got older, it got harder to stay hopeful. I had some breakdowns, crying at my foster home, pleading for someone to adopt me. I was so eager for my own family.
What are some of your earliest memories of meeting your mom and realizing the adoption was going to happen?
I was over the moon when I found out I was going to be adopted. My mom had given my caseworker a brochure about herself. It had information about her favorite color and things she liked to do for fun. I thought, I like to do these things too!
I was so nervous on the flight. She was there at the airport, waiting for me with her sister and balloons. I was into Leon Bridges at the time, and she had his new CD. We played it in the car on the way home. I remember we made cookies together that first day, and I followed her around the house like a puppy. It was so hard to believe that it finally happened. I finally had my own family.
Did anyone talk to you about making the transition from foster care to adoption? How did you prepare?
Before the adoption, no one sat me down and said, “This is what being in a family will be like.” It was something I had to learn on my own. I had to grow into that because it was so unfamiliar. We had our rough spots; I was defiant at times. Most teenagers are.
But my mom offered constant reassurance, saying, “I’m here for you.” And her actions spoke louder than her words. Even when it was hard for me to trust, she always gave me reasons to trust her.
What do you wish families thinking about adoption knew about adopting a teen?
When you adopt a teen, make sure they have what they need, including a therapist, support around them, and a safe place to talk. When they first come to your home, they don’t have anyone and have to start everything all over. So be patient and kind. Take it day by day.
At Bethany we often say, “Family changes everything.” What does that mean to you?
When you move in with a new family and everything’s unfamiliar, you don’t know what’s going to happen. Family can give a teenager stepping-stones they won’t get in foster care. Family gives teens a foundation that can launch them into life.