From Unadoptable to a Forever Family
"I know that I will not be another foster care statistic because I was adopted.” 

Smiling girl standing on grass in sunlight

Maya entered the foster care system at the age of 14 when Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided her mother’s home for drug and gun sales. Growing up, she and her brother were exposed to drugs and alcohol and were often homeless. Maya’s brother was placed with his paternal family, but unfortunately, Maya was shuffled through many foster placements.

Eventually, Maya was referred to us, and with support and hard work with her therapist, she began to heal from her trauma and open up to the idea of having a family again. Maya’s words are far more impactful than ours could ever be, so we’ve included a section of her speech from the Sacramento State Capitol round table forum on child welfare:

“I’d like to tell you why it is never too late to be adopted.

I entered the system at 14 because my mother was no longer able to take care of me.  When I entered foster care, I was scared because I didn’t know what was going to happen, I felt alone because nobody was there for me, and I was mad – mad at my mom, mad at myself, and mad at the system because even they couldn’t make me feel safe.

Anytime my social worker asked me if I wanted to be adopted, I always said “no.”  But one day, she told me about a couple wanting to start their own family.  I was so scared to meet them at first but I eventually agreed.  I had multiple visits with them, even had overnight stays, and then finally moved in.  I lived with them for almost a year until the adoption was finalized, which was last month.

Some of you in this room might be wondering why I wanted to be adopted just two weeks before my 18th birthday.  I wanted to be adopted because of the unconditional love and acceptance my family showed be from the very beginning, motivating me to do bigger and better things with my life… they helped me to see the best in myself and love myself. 

Because I’ve been adopted, I will always have my parents there for me.  They’ll be there for me when I graduate from high school and move into my college dorm room.  They’ll be there for me when I get my first job and when I don’t have all of the answers.  They’ll be there for me through all of the good times and the bad. 

I know that I will not be another foster care statistic because I was adopted.” 

Maya was adopted into the right family for her, who could meet her individual needs, encourage her to excel academically and pursue her dreams. Maya is just one of the nearly 4,000 children in our region who need our help.

And although we work with all children, what distinguishes Stanford Sierra Youth & Families from any other agency is that we specialize in finding homes for youth considered “unadoptable” – children who are medically fragile, older kids (over the age of 6), children of color, and sibling groups who should not be separated.

We believe in transforming lives by nurturing permanent connections and empowering families to solve challenges together, so every child can thrive.


*Names and other identifying details have been changed to protect the identity of the youth.