The courthouse doors burst open, and a wide-grinned 17-year-old ran down the sidewalk through a flurry of bubbles, popping them ecstatically but with subtle intent.

Katrina wanted desperately to find her forever home, and last week, she did! Katrina first entered the foster care system when she was just 3-years-old. A year later, she was back home, but the situation was not ideal. Soon, she was back in the foster care system. Life was confusing, life was scary, and mostly, life was uncertain.

Over the years, Katrina lived with many families, but none of them were HER family. None of them were home. Yes, she felt safe and had all the necessities of life; food, shelter, medical care, schooling. But life is more than necessities. Life is about love and bonding, and family.

Instability. If there was one word to describe life, it was instability.

In 2018, she met Andrea and Kari, and finally, for once, life seemed – stable. It was mutual, and the three of them behaved like a family. It wasn't long before Katrina announced, "I finally found my forever family!" Now, the process started to make that official.

"In working with Katrina throughout her foster care placement, one of the things that has always stood out, despite her worries and fears, is her strong desire to have a forever family," said Michele Lasher, Foster Care Clinical Manager. Katrina wanted to have her adoption in person, but COVID-19 made things even more complex and delayed. The newly formed family persisted, and with the help of Judge Deep and Jessica Reynolds-Amuso, attorney for Andrea and Kari, the adoption was able to occur in person.

On adoption day, the family was surrounded by HGS Staff, who reported that the air in that room was alive with anticipation, gratitude, and love. "Love is what makes a family," Andrea said. "Family, no matter what that looks like for you, starts with love."

After the adoption and the last tears were wiped dry, a group waited outside, filling the air with hundreds of bubbles. Katrina threw open the doors and dashed through the iridescent array, popping each to say goodbye to 14 years of obstacles, pitfalls, fear, and darkness. She finally stopped and stood still, surrounded by bubbles that now represent joy and peace.

Michele Lasher offered some final thoughts, "The world may not change if you adopt a child, but for that child, their world will change."