Magan 2nd from left with her adoptive parents, sisters and grandmother
On September 14, a brave, young girl stood up before a crowd of over 120 people and shared her personal experience in the foster care system. Magan’s story is both tragic and inspiring and unfortunately, not uncommon for thousands of children across New York State.
Prior to connecting to her Berkshire foster parents, Nichole & Naomi, what Magan experienced was hard to hear. Physical and sexual abuse, neglect, and abandonment were only a few of the adversities she experienced in her young life.
The years prior to entering foster care were filled with sexual abuse, neglect, and drug use as means of escaping the reality she faced every day. Walking miles to school in the dead of winter just to have food to eat as part of the free-lunch program; Magan started her journey as a survivor.
With the support of a teacher, Magan opened up about what was happening at home and immediate action was taken. Magan was brought to Nichole & Naomi’s home, a couple certified by Berkshire as a foster family.
Nichole & Naomi’s home is where Magan learned to feel safe, cared for, and most importantly – loved. Her grades improved, she received the treatment she needed to address her childhood traumas, and she began to heal. After 976 days in foster care, Magan was adopted by Nichole & Naomi, finally finding her Forever Family.
Here is some of what Magan shared that night...
"It’s a funny thing; feeling safe. When I was with my grandmother, I took it for granted, the way children should be able to – but this time it was different. I knew better. Things were still hard, especially at first, but it turned out my foster parents weren’t so bad. A little quirky – but workable. They cared about me getting to school, so I went. I went from failing every subject to honor roll. I went from never being there, to nearly perfect attendance. There was food, more than enough for me and for my little brother, so doing homework wasn’t so bad either on a full stomach, and without the preoccupation of how I could get my hands on something to eat. They talked to me about taking care of myself and about college. They pointed out my strengths and they helped me to heal. No one wants to be in foster care, but since I couldn’t control being there - I made the decision I would make foster care my opportunity.
My foster family came to my concerts and for a kid who couldn’t figure out how to get to their own concert just a few years before – that meant more to me then they will ever know. I participated in an after-school program in our community and I did so well there I earned the Girl of the Year Award. It was an incredible honor and I was able to do that within a year of entering foster care. It helped to remind me how much I had grown and it helped to show me how much potential I really had. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my grandmother who gave me strength, my Berkshire workers who helped me to heal, or my adoptive parents who took a chance on a kid like me."