A Florida teenager who recently aged out of the foster care system got adopted by her former caseworker.
Monyay Paskalides, who is 19-years-old, was in foster homes and group homes in Florida before she aged out of the system, according to a Facebook post from the Safe Children Coalition.
WTVT reported Monyay was first placed into a group home at the age of 11 in the foster care system and had been there ever since, until now.
“With my signature, it is official,” Judge Teri Dees said amidst applause and cheers via Zoom last Tuesday. “Happy adoption day.”
Before Leah Paskalides took on the title of “mother,” she worked as Monyay’s caseworker and mentor within the Safe Children Coalition.
“She was always a kid that did not deserve to go through life without a support system of a family,” Leah said.
Monyay was a good student who graduated a year early and volunteered to help other foster kids in similar situations.
Monyay was able to rely on Leah for support, but Leah could not adopt her due to the conflict of interest that existed at the time with her job.
As Monyay aged out of the foster care system without a mother, Leah discovered she could still adopt Monyay as an adult.
“It was important to me that she knew that she was wanted by somebody, that somebody loved her,” Leah explained. “I could say that as many times as I want, but actions speak louder than words.”
Both Monyay and Leah hope their story can inspire others to adopt teens in foster or group homes and give hope to children and teens who are still waiting to find their forever families.