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Success Story: Anita hopes her success story inspires families to adopt older kids

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Many people who consider adopting a child want to bring home a baby or toddler. But there are so many older kids, currently in foster care, who are waiting to find a family of their own - children like Anita who was 11 when she found her mom Kathryn.

"Really complete, really that's the only word. It's exactly how I envisioned it, only better," said Kathryn.

They've only known each other for a little over a year, but in that relatively short time, Kathryn and Anita have developed an incredible mother-daughter bond.

"I have a purpose every night and every morning…just looking for her running to the car at the end of the day... and I want to hear about her day and what she's been doing, what she's learning," Kathryn explained. "It's fun to guide her and see her learn how to make her own decisions. It's a great age because she's giving a lot more back on an intellectual and emotional level, because she can verbalize what she feels and what's she's doing. So, I love that"

Kathryn says she had always wanted to adopt a child.

"I did want a school-aged child, because I'm a single mother, and I thought logistically that would be easier, and so I started thinking a six to 10, but as I was taking parenting classes and meeting older adoptive children, I realized how wonderful it would be to take in an older child. And then at the very end, I raised my limit to 17," Kathryn continued.

And because of Kathryn's change of heart, Anita, who was 11-years-old at the time, came up as a perfect fit.

"She was my first and only match, because as soon as I read her story, I fell in love with her and wanted to meet her and after that there was no going back," Kathryn added.

And as they move forward-- they hope to lead other families to adopt, by example.

"The only thing I can do is show them Anita. I do have two sets of friends, couples, that were looking to adopt toddlers, and since they met Anita this year, they've also raised their age range," Kathryn said. "And they love her. They just can't believe that's how easy it is and how great it is to introduce a child at that age into your family."

Anita has been busy learning all about her new family this past year.

"We have a big family Christmas party. We have a lot of family out here, 15 people. So Anita slowly met each one of them so she could remember their names," Kathryn added.

And though Anita has now found her forever home, Kathryn knows there are countless other children out there, loveable kids just like Anita, who worry about never getting out of foster care.

"I think what strikes me most is, I really don't understand how she waited, or whatever forces in play forced her to wait this long to get adopted, because I don't understand. It's just like, ‘Oh my gosh, it's our secret!'" Kathryn said.

Anita, who's now 12, is thrilled to have a mom to share secrets with. A mom who gives her the love and care she deserves and for so many years was missing.

"It was meant to be, definitely," Kathryn said.

Now, the sky is the limit for Anita, as she contemplates what she'll be when she grows up.

"Either a doctor or a teacher," Anita said.

"Dreaming big, I like it," Kathryn responds.

Their next dream to fulfill, though, is to go through the adoption process one more time.

"We want a little brother," Kathryn noted. "Anita keeps asking everyday, when?"

If you are interested in adopting from foster care or becoming a foster family, call 1-877-I-ADOPT-U to learn more about getting started. The County of San Diego also offers monthly orientation classes.

News 8 thanks the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center for hosting our Adopt 8 families for a fun day.

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