Lily started foster care at 13 years old, just after delivering a baby boy. She chose adoption for his care and participated in selecting a permanent family for him. Lily struggled with mood and behavioral regulation as a result of abuse, grief, loss and separation from her home, school and family. After clinical evaluations she was diagnosed with several conditions and prescribed psychotropic medication as treatment. For five years, Lily’s foster family protected her while she healed, and at the time of her discharge from state custody, she was finally free of medication and learned positive strategies for managing her mental health.

This year Lily turned 18, graduated from high school and moved into a shared living arrangement supported by the YESS program (Young Adults Establishing Self-Sufficiency).  She is attending CCRI this fall and exploring part-time employment options. She continues to be encouraged by her foster parents, as well as her girlfriend and her girlfriend’s family. She has contact with her son’s parents and takes comfort in knowing he is well cared for. During her time in foster care she developed leadership and advocacy skills by speaking to current and perspective foster families during training.  This year she spoke at the state house in support of marriage equality.