"Being a former foster youth is challenging, but it has made you strong. Don't let that strength go to waste. Use it, and never give up."

Jaclyn Allen shares #HerStory for #SpeakUp:

"As a kid, I longed for stability. Stability is something that could not be found at home, but I hoped could be found through the foster care system. Instead, I found that I was trading one unstable situation for another. I was tossed around from children's' home to children's home and from one foster family to another. I had no place to plant my roots, and during my adolescence, it was something I needed the most.

Once you leave the foster care system, they don't really care much about what happens to you after. You're not their responsibility anymore. I needed support and information about resources that were available to me.

What did the system teach me? Adaptability. That is the biggest lesson that comes to mind when I think about what I learned from being in foster care. I had to adjust to the instability and learn to adapt to new living situations, new people, new schools, and new environments. It taught me to be able to thrive in any situation I was thrown into. In a way, although it was hard on me, I am glad to have learned that lesson early in life.

Piece of advice- It gets better. One day you will be 18, and you will be able to take back control of your life and make your own decisions, but don't take it for granted. Seize control of your life and make it the best you can. Although you will have control of your decisions, there will still be areas of your life that you cannot control."

Foster Nation