More than 350 children up for adoption in South Texas
Fri, 25 Nov 2011 12:00:00 GMT —
A wall inside State Farm Arena holds photos of South Texas children waiting to be adopted.
Leah Garcia used to be one of them.
"From the time I was two until the time I was 17, I was in different foster homes, said Leah Garcia. I had many different experiences in foster care, as I was placed in over 100 different homes."
Leah is now 18-years-old and spreading her story.
She was adopted just four months before she "maxed out."
Maxed out is a term familiar to foster care children.
Once they turn 18, government support is cut off.
They're left to face the world alone.
"I've always worried the time would come, and I would turn 18 and max out, said Leah Garcia. Who would I call when I was in trouble? How was I going to afford the expenses that would come along?"
What came along for Leah was Elias and Roxanne Garcia of Hidalgo.
The couple adopted Leah one year ago.
Leah now plays catch up in life.
Never having celebrated a sweet 16, her parents threw her a sweet 18.
"She had a father and daughter dance with my husband, said adoptive mom Roxanne Garcia. And a mother daughter dance with me."
Leah TMs adoption is benefitting her new brothers.
"The boys now understand they've had a lot of things that they'll appreciate more what we give them, said adoptive dad Elias Garcia. Because (Leah) explains to them like, ~Hey I've never been here, or I've never had this. TM"
But memories of the love Leah grew up without still haunt her.
She understands that may be the reason some are hesitant to adopt older children.
"I guess they don't want to worry about what teenagers carry throughout their life, said Leah Garcia. Because I mean to be honest, it does follow us. I still sometimes have nightmares of what happened to me."
With or without a past, Leah said foster care children need parents for a brighter future.
According to Child Protective Services, more than 350 children in South Texas are hoping to find a forever family.
Of them, 83 are from the Rio Grande Valley.