“My life was a challenge from the beginning,” recalls Daisy, who was placed in foster care as an infant and spent the first two decades of her life without a permanent place to call home.
Daisy lost her grandmother at a young age. She was abandoned by other family members. And, when Daisy was 15 years old, her biological mother passed away before the two ever had the chance to meet. Those difficult losses added layers of grief to the trauma Daisy had suffered from so many years of instability.
“It was lonely and confusing,” Daisy shared. “I didn’t have much support or encouragement from anyone.”
After bouncing between multiple foster homes, Daisy went to live with the Steele family, of Jacksonville, FL. They welcomed her with open arms, but the transition wasn’t easy. “It’s always in the back of your mind, ‘When am I going to have to move again?’ Daisy said. “But the Steeles never gave up on encouraging and loving me.”
At age 19, when Daisy learned she would become a mother herself, there was one person who Daisy wanted by her side: her foster mom, Nicole Steele. “My mom was at all of my sporting events. She taught me how to drive. She advocated for me, and while I was struggling, she told me everything was going to be okay,” Daisy reflects. “My mom held my hand while I gave birth to my first son. But I think our most special memory is when she asked to adopt me.”
To Daisy, Nicole was always her mom. It just wasn’t official. Nicole was determined to change that. With support from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, Daisy was adopted at age 22 in June 2020.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the adoption was finalized via Zoom by Duval County Circuit Court Judge David Gooding. It was Florida’s 100th virtual adoption since the pandemic started.
“Before I was adopted, I felt like I wasn’t enough. I had this hole in my heart, and I never really knew why. I never knew what I needed to patch that hole until my mom asked to adopt me,” Daisy shares. “There is no hole in my heart anymore.”
Nearly 20,000 youth, like Daisy, age out of foster care in the United States each year without a permanent family. Donate now to help give these young people the foundation for a brighter future before it’s too late.