"Although hopelessness may seep in while in the foster care system, hope is the only thing we have left to help us get through and keep going--to keep fighting. At times, hope is the only power we have in certain situations so hang on to that."

Maria Rodriguez shares #HerStory:

"I can't say what my worst experience in the foster care system has been because that feeling of rejection from a so-called "parent" never goes away; it lingers into every home you enter or every person that comes into your life.

What I needed the most when I was emancipating from the system was stability and consistency--even if that meant ONE person stuck by throughout its entirety because whether you're considered one of the "lucky" ones like myself, the change in environment can cause a higher conflict than feeling alone, especially during teenage years. For example, caring gestures, we don't see as caring because we, or I, was so used to doing things on my own. In addition, despite the relief associated with having financial needs met, the emotional baggage is still present.

Although it may feel like no one cares or will ever care due to greedy and heartless people, there are people that will eventually walk into your life by the grace of God, teaching you otherwise. You may not be able to start over, but you can write a new beginning--YOUR beginning."

- Maria Rodriguez

Foster Nation