I recently had the pleasure of speaking with two beautiful women, Lauri Burns and Stefani who both shared their experiences within the foster care system with me.
Lauri’s story began as a troubled youth of child abuse which lead to heroin use and prostitution, while Stefanie shared how she had a traumatic childhood that led her to cutting. Despite both of their pasts, Lauri and Stephanie were able to overcome their obstacles and in the process, ended up finding each other and their forever homes.
Lauri decided to become a foster mom when an abused child came into her life. Unfortunately, she was denied due to her past and was told she would have to reapply. After coming in contact with another abused child seven years later, Lauri reapplied and was finally able to help the children around her and become a foster mom. Today, Lauri is a foster mom to Stefani as well as about sixty other kids. Lauri also opened a 100-bed facility and by the end of 2014 she expects to be fostering about 160 children.
However, shortly after Lauri took a position on the advisory board for her county, she learned that about 25,000 teens are going homeless in the foster care system every year. Lauri shared that after these children turn eighteen, their foster parents no longer receive government help and that’s when they are pushed out of their homes and into homelessness. Lauri knew that she had to take action.
Going forward, Lauri wants to educate the community to reveal the issue of homeless foster children. Many members of the community don’t know what can happen to the children once they reach eighteen years old and are no longer under the care of foster parents. Also, foster children have a bad reputation as being “bad” kids. Lauri shared that Stefani is a prime example that even children with troubled pasts can heal and grow past that trauma. Lauri says, “I get more from my girls, my kids, my family, than I could ever give to them.”
Lauri shared with KirstyTV that she stays in touch with her kids and she says that almost all of them still come back to visit her once they leave.
Stefani says she feels that Lauri really is like a mother to her, “She’s given me everything that my mom couldn’t: a home, a room, a car, a safe place to sleep… food.”
I think that we can all learn a lot about selflessness and compassion from Lauri. If you are inspired by her story there are many ways for you to get involved with foster kids in your area. If you would like to learn more about Lauri’s efforts and The Teen Project please visit their website at www.theteenproject.com
Kirsty attacks life like it’s a chocolate cake. She is the Executive Producer and Host of KirstyTV and an international speaker, author, and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. You can also follow Kirsty on Facebook and Twitter.