CANTON, TX (KLTV) - Ahead of Adoption Awareness month in November, an East Texas teen is shedding light on the importance of the self-less act of adoption.
She shared her own story of triumph over tragedy at the R4 Adoption Match Event in Canton Saturday.
At the event, dozens of children in foster care were able to meet prospective parents in a fun environment with plenty of activities.
“I need to find a forever family,” said foster child Makyala as she waited for the airplanes to arrive. “That means I'll be able to have a mom and a dad that cares.”
Ethan, 7, says he, his brother and sister, “just want one home to live in, forever and ever.”
“There are foster children and foster parents and we're all just kind of having a gathering together, almost like a meet and greet,” said Allie Graves, 16, the current Miss. North Texas Outstanding Teen. “Being a former foster child, it's a different experience, I'm really excited to be here.”
At the age of five, Allie was taken from a home of abuse and put into foster care.
“I actually testified in court against my abuser,” said Graves.
Just two years later, Graves was adopted into her new family.
“They started loving me and this sounds really pitiful and really sad, but I wasn't used to all of this love and tenderness and TLC,” said Graves.
Now, this Texarkana teen is raising awareness through her organization "What Love Can Do."
“It's never going to be easy,” said Graves. “I don't have all the answers but I know that much, that family is extremely important.”
Parents at the R4 Matching Event said the opportunity to meet individually with the foster children was important to them.
“To know them on a personal level you just see how much they are filled with love and their personalities just shines through regardless of what their past is,” said prospective parent Carlos Rodriguez.
Graves spoke from experience when she said a parent’s decision to open their home to a child is life-changing for both parties.
“If they can pull out just a piece of their heart and give that to that kid - that one little difference, that one little step is a whole new world for that other person,” said Graves.