It’s unusual for teenagers to get adopted. Most people who adopt are looking for infants and toddlers. But Mary Lee beat the odds. Lee entered foster care when she was 12 and she was adopted one week before she turned 18.
When Lee was 16, the judge asked her what she wanted in her life. She told him that she wanted to be adopted. The judge looked at her a bit puzzled and asked her why since she was close to aging out of foster care. Lee told the judge she wanted a family, not necessarily for this time in her life, but to share her triumphs and challenges after she turned 18. She wanted a sense of belonging. She wanted to be loved.
The judge decided to start the process of terminating her parental rights so Lee could be adopted. Still, there were challenges. “Who would want to adopt a teenager,” people asked? Lee thought the risk was worth it, and the state provided a caseworker to help her find a family.
Then one day after school, Lee came home and her adoption worker and foster mother were waiting for her. Her adoption worker handed her a book, much like the life book she made for potential adoptive parents to get to know her.
“The adoption worker presented it to me and said, ‘If you open it to the first page, you’ll see the family that wishes to adopt you.’ And when I opened it, it was actually my case manager and his family, and I was completely shocked. I think to this day it still makes my heart flutter just to know that they wanted me. That they knew everything about me, all the good things and the bad things, and they still picked me,” Lee says.
“I can’t even express the happiness that it gave me knowing that there was a family that wanted me and that I was going to be a part of,” Lee said.
Recently, Lee got engaged. And it won't be long till her father walks her down the aisle.