Forever Family: Meet Stefani - This young lady wants to be a vet!
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - I knew from the moment that Stefani walked on the farm for our filming this month we were in for some fun. At first I thought it was her carefree spirit that was willing to go do the corn maze with two preschoolers on set while they chased her and giggled. She ran, she laughed, she picked them up and spun them around and not only did they enjoy her but she genuinely appeared to love spending time with them. Then I thought maybe it was her spunk that added an extra sparkle and energy as I watched her pose for pictures.
However, we have had older teens at filming that do both of those things. What sets Stefani apart is the way she is able to playfully engage with others and even herself as she strives to move forward. All of our children come from hard places, we wouldn’t be telling their stories if their journeys were easy. Stefani is able to embrace the chaos and embrace even the hard parts of her story without being calloused, without being dismissive and without playing the victim. She is willing to share and be open and talk about hard things and articulate her needs but she is also able to couple that with a silly and humble demeanor that makes her not just approachable but lovable.
Stefani picked up my 4-year-old son and spun him around and he responded by hugging her tight. “Stefani, you would be great with little brothers and sisters” I told her. She shrugged her shoulders and laughed and said, “Miss Ashley I like little kids, just not living with them. Nope. I am going to find a family where I can be an only child or the youngest, that is the family I need.” I turned surprised and tried to persuade her further, “you are wonderful with them and they love you, you are fun, smart a good role model.” However she laughed and gave me a side hug as she said, “nope, that’s not what I want or need. No way, not for me”
That moment I stood in awe of a young woman who can talk about something as heavy as foster care and being without a family. But she not only was graceful in her words, she was playful yet honest. What an incredible confidence and beauty in her self awareness at such a young age. I cannot wait to hear about this young woman as her journey continues. She will do beautifully academically, professionally and in relationships because she has found the key to how to connect in a dynamic way. She is honest and up front, but she wraps it in playful engagement and delivers it with grace. Much like a beautiful gift with a sparkly bow on top.
To say Stefani as a daughter would be a gift to any family willing to receive her is an understatement. In three hours this young lady taught me to speak the truth without shame or fear while allowing others to see the beauty that comes from that type of boldness. I cannot imagine what she will teach and show a family who is willing to give her a life time to embrace the gift she is.
This article was written by Ashley McKinley. the Program Development Director and North Carolina Forever Families Coordinator with Seven Homes Inc.
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