Unsplash | Annika Marek-Barta

Currently Crying Over A Woman Who Adopted A 17-Year-Old 'Because Every Kid Is Worth It'

Many people in life dream of the opportunity of having a family of their own.

However, not all families are built the conventional way of a mother giving birth to her own children and raising the family on her own. Families come in all different shapes, sizes, and ways of entry. Many times, families are not blood-related, but built on love.

There are thousands of children across the world who are yearning for family and forever homes.

From adoption agencies to foster care, all over the world there are children whose parents have given them up for one reason or another.

And, there are wonderful individuals who choose to foster them and even adopt them, into their own families.

One mom showcased just how big her heart is when she shared her story of adoption.

Katie Holstein is a selfless woman who began her journey as a foster parent in 2017.

Holstein says she was "tired of waiting around for Mr. Right" and so badly wanted to be a mom. So, she figured she would help unite families and foster during his time.

After being approved, she became a mom to a 1 and 2-year-old set of siblings.

"Over the next three years, I got to foster 16 children, in addition to helping out some local families with respite for their kiddos. I experienced my first and (so far) only reunification 3 days before Christmas of 2018. It was amazing and I look forward to the day I experience that again," she said.

In January 2019, she got the call to foster a baby boy, who would eventually become her son.

The social worker called and said that the newborn boy's mother had a lot of issues with the state and the situation would "almost 100% end up in adoption."

Holstein, who had two baby boys at home already, said yes.

Holstein eventually adopted her son, Thomas Holstein.

Then, the social worker called about another child—but, not a baby. Holstein had been used to fostering young ones, but never teenagers.

However, the social worker still asked if she would help her current foster family out by taking her for a weekend.

Akyra, or Okra as her family calls her, fit right in.

"I wanted to help so I said yes and she just clicked. The little kids adored her; they called her their big friend. I loved having someone around who shared my love of Twilight and sleeping in late. I did respite for her several times over the next few months," Holstein said.

Okra continuously ended up back with Katie and he family "temporarily."

"The plan became for her to stay with me until she graduated in about a year and then go into independent living, which is an amazing program our state runs. It allows teens who are going to age out to choose to recommit themselves to the cabinet until they’re 22.

They get set up with housing, a stipend, mentors, help with jobs, school, etc. Basically, it allows them to have a slow, guided transition into adulthood instead of being expected to fend for themselves at 18," Katie had said.

Then one day, they were joking around, and Okra brought up Katie adopting her permanently.

"A few months later, we were joking around about her future and she said, ‘Have you ever thought about adopting a teen?’ And the rest was history. 189 days after coming to me for the last time, we said forever. They even managed to squeeze us in 3 days before she turned 17, her one wish not to have to spend another birthday in the system," Holstein said.

After 24 foster families and a decade in the system, Katie adopted Okra as a Holstein.

"It’s been a few weeks since then and to be honest, it still doesn’t seem real yet for me or her. Recently, she got invited on an out-of-state trip with one of her friends. I said yes and she quickly reminded me that we needed to call her social worker to get it approved. And then she smiled.

She said, ‘That’s right. You’re my mom now. We don’t have to ask permission from anyone ever again,'" Holstein shared.

It's a story with the most beautiful and happy ending.

Katie Holstein says she hopes her story can inspire others to open their heart and home to fostering.

"I promise you, there are children in your community right now who need a safe place to land and they’re not going to care you’re on a budget, have a small house, aren’t married, or are still trying to figure this whole parenting thing out. They need willing families, not perfect ones."

Katie says the older kids need the most love sometimes, too.

"You’re gonna hear the horror stories and I won’t lie, it’s not all sunshine and roses. But let me tell you how much sweeter those roses smell when you have to climb through the trenches to reach them. Every kid deserves a family. Every single one. Even the ones who insist they don’t because they’re almost grown. Especially them," she said.

h/t Love What Matters