I am a woman. I am a radio show host. I am a college graduate. I am a mother. I am a television show co-host. I am a motivator. I am successful. I am a winner. I am also a product of the foster care system.
Statistics say that I beat the odds, but deep down inside, there is always a voice saying, “You weren’t good enough. You weren’t wholly loved. The person who was supposed to love you more than anything or anyone in the entire world, gave you up.”
At the age of 12, my life changed. I discovered I was adopted. I had three foster families before my family decided to adopt me at the age of 4. I always felt like an outsider or like a puzzle piece that didn’t fit. I still grapple with that feeling in spite of my success.
Once I discovered I was adopted, there were many questions that I needed answered. Why didn’t my biological parents want me? Why did they give me up? I started searching, and when my adoptive mother found out, she was very upset. We had a lot of arguments about it. So, I stopped searching for my biological family until my adoptive mother passed away. I waited about six to seven months before I restarted my search and found my biological parents about a year later. In total, it took me 15 years.
Discovering I was adopted, searching for my biological family, experiencing heaps of shame regarding being adopted, and feeling out of touch with who I was led me to a life of serving, uplifting and advocating for the foster and adoptive community.
May is National Foster Care Awareness Month – a time to celebrate the voices of foster youth and to bring awareness to the challenges that they face. During this month, organizations such as Youth Villages, a national nonprofit based in Memphis, Tennessee, work to support and recognize youth in foster care, as well as put forward solutions to improve the child welfare system as a whole.
There are more than 430,000 children in foster care in the United States that need your encouragement, love and support.
Fostering and adopting is a true calling and dedication to open your hearts and homes to a child in need. In communities across the U.S., there is always a need for more foster parents. However, let’s not forget the young people coming of age in foster care who are in need support from our communities, as well as organizations like Youth Villages, which is expanding its innovative, evidence-informed program for transition-age foster youth, YVLifeSet, to states and jurisdictions across the U.S.
Children who are in foster care deserve to win. Let’s help them at all stages of their journey.
Jasmine Sanders is an award-winning media maven who has broken barriers to become a multimedia powerhouse, mentor, and soon-to-be author. She is the co-host of “The DL Hughley Show,” the nationally syndicated radio program.