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forever home

Sharing Samantha's Story

One of our volunteers put together a video about one of our former residents, Samantha, and her journey from homelessness to success. We are so proud of Samantha and all of her hard work!

Samantha came to us during her senior year in high school. She had been living with her family in a church’s Sunday School classroom. After Samantha’s graduation, the church notified her family that the classroom was no longer available for them to sleep in. They had to move out immediately. That’s when Samantha found Palmetto Place.

When she started college in fall 2013, Samantha’s Palmetto Place family took her shopping for dorm supplies. They took her to lunch on her first day and then said teary goodbyes. They were like any normal family – just a bit more unconventional.

Today, Samantha still comes “home” on the weekends. She plays with the younger children and tutors the older ones. We taught her how to drive and helped her buy her first car.

We asked Samantha to tell us what happened to some of her homeless friends. She replied, “All of the homeless teens I’ve met were from Palmetto Place and they’re all doing well for themselves.”

Samantha knows many, however, who weren’t so lucky. “Some kids from my old neighborhoods haven’t gotten the support I did at Palmetto Place. They are in prison, on their third child, or doing illegal things to get money.”

“Palmetto Place gives a chance to kids like me to make something of ourselves.” Samantha will always remember her time here fondly, as it led her to realize that “there are people out there who care about us and want us to succeed. Thank you!”

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Forever Home

Note: Today's blog post is from a special guest, Ms. Tori Sizemore, Miss South Carolina Teen USA 2013. In the mind of every child is a dream; the one thing that towers above every other desire and expectation. Such fantasies are rarely forgotten or achieved.

My childhood dream- my heartfelt prayer- was to have a baby sister. Three brothers later, I accepted my life as the only girl, though my dream of a sister never faded. After years of prodding, my parents surprised me by exploring adoption. We were unprepared when we received a call from an attorney at nine o'clock in the morning.  A young woman who lived on the streets was giving up custody of her ten month old biracial baby girl that very morning. Little Sarah Ann needed a home that day. In a haze of shock and ecstasy, we went to pick up the little girl and by three o'clock that afternoon, I held in my arms the living, breathing answer to countless prayers.

The miracles continued, as fears like financial stability, legal complications and racial prejudice melted away. We knew Sarah belonged in our family, especially when we discovered my father, who is a pediatrician, had cared for her as a newborn. Ironically enough, our story continued when two years later, my father cared for twin biracial girls. The frail babies left the hospital and entered the foster system. We couldn't explain why, but my family knew we needed to care for them. Our family was too large too foster the twins, so the only other option required a court order. Many considered our case impossible, but after six challenging weeks and a miracle or two, we brought home Lexi and Leah as their foster-to-adopt family. The prayers I made during my mother's pregnancies each came to fruition; one curly haired princess for every wonderfully wild brother. I am reminded daily of the blessings of adoption: our family is complete and Sarah Ann, Lexi, and Leah are safe, cared for, and loved in their Forever Home.

I believe every child deserves the sense of security and love from a permanent family. It breaks my heart that over 4,000 children in South Carolina do not experience the enduring love they need. Children sit in foster care waiting for permanency because few people know how best to help them. That is why I created the program Forever Home. This program is designed to Educate, Inspire, and Equip people to change lives through adoption and re-unification. My life has been greatly shaped by adoption and as Miss South Carolina Teen, I desire to shape the hearts, minds and lives of the future. Adoption embraces the truths of equality, acceptance, and unconditional love that the next generation is seeking and it can transform the future of American families. My goal and desire is to see the next generation united to create a Forever Home for every child. The issue of adoption and unification awareness is a very personal, powerful message and it needs to reach as many ears as possible. I know that the Lord put me on the road to Miss South Carolina Teen USA to Educate, Inspire, and Equip the entire state and the nation.

Every child has a dream. For many, it is simply to have a loving Forever Home. Let's make it a reality!

Visit me at: https://www.facebook.com/misssouthcarolinateenusa

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