Every time I sit down with one of the kids in our Kids To Love program, I do my best to try to make a positive change in their life. But then there are kids like Tish, who changed my life with two questions.
Now 16, it’s hard to believe I first met her five years ago. It’s even harder to believe she’s still waiting for a forever family.
“You know how you put people in a picture? People I meet I put them in my picture, I put people in my mom's place and my dad's place and I put people in my sister and brother place, I already have a brother and I really care about him but if you're important to me, I put you somewhere in my life. That is what I do," Tish said.
Tish has strength far beyond her years. As a foster child, she 'gets it'. She understands the need to prepare for the world, but deep inside a brave heart is a young girl who wants what so many call 'normal'.
"I want to be independent and professional, and I want to show people that I can do it on my own," said Tish. "But then, at the same time, I want a family, I want sisters and brothers and parents I can call a mom and dad."
Tish wants a forever home. She wants -- needs -- a foundation to break the cycle of desperate children not to just achieve, but overachieve.
“I want to do hair, then I also want to be a singer," Tish said. "I want to do hair because it's a talent that I have and I'm real good at it, and I think I'll make at least enough money to get a mansion.”
Tish sang us a song.
"When I look in the mirror and the only one there is me... every freckle on my face is where it's supposed to be... and I know my creator didn't make no mistakes on me,” she sang.
"That is awesome, you have made me cry, because I love you,” Lee said.
Seeing how far Tish has come brought it full circle.
“Are you crying because you're happy? “ Tish asked.
“I'm crying because I see so much potential in you,” Lee answered.
“I hear that a lot,” Tish said.
“I wanna help you reach it,” Lee said.
“Do you have good parents now? You found your home? Now you have people you can rely on," Tish said. "You're making a cycle... like Pay It Forward. Have you seen that movie? Some day I'm gonna pay it forward. I'm gonna help somebody...and you paid it forward to me so I have to pay it forward to someone else.”
Tish changed the way I look at things. I have always approached the kids we work with, with an urgency to find them a forever family before they turn 18. But Tish showed me family is forever, no matter what your age.
For more information on adoption and foster care, visit our Kids To Love page on WHNT.com.