Forever Family: Meet Eliana

Published: Feb. 4, 2020 at 8:07 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - I cannot begin to describe just how much I enjoyed meeting fourteen year old Eliana. From the moment she walked on set I knew I would enjoy spending the day with her. Eliana has a beautiful smile that we saw throughout filming. What I noticed about Eliana was how she had several different smiles which showed off the many wonderful qualities about this teenager.

Eliana had a big, bright smile when she tilted her head back and her smile was wide when something made her laugh. When she was nervous Eliana had a sheepish smile where her lips pursed together ever so slightly and one corner lifted slightly. If the camera came out she made sure to smile so that her dimple creased deeply. During the interview when she talked about her friends and her whole body jolted a little with excitement, her smile popped up again. I loved watching this young woman and I loved seeing her intentionality when she spoke with others.

Eliana smiled, all day long during filming. Each smile was genuine and sincere. Eliana’s beauty was evident, not just because of the beautiful smile that came out in front of the camera, but because of the authentic variations in her smile. I loved that despite being the last of her siblings left to find permanency she smiles because she has hope. I love that despite having to move to several schools over the years with new friends, each time she spoke of her new friendships with joy and no resentment for friends left behind. I love that despite the difficult realities that foster care has placed upon her life she can still laugh and find happiness in circumstances.

Most of all, despite the very vulnerable and humbling aspect of being a child at one of our filmings and how emotionally difficult it can be on our teenagers, she smiled with gratitude at the chance to attend. Eliana showed our crew that genuine happiness is possible if we are willing to hold on to hope and the promise of tomorrow. Eliana looks to the future and she speaks candidly about what she needs and her desire to find a forever family. I know that despite being a teenager, deep down there is a young child at heart with a smile that has not been seen for many years. A smile that shows peace and contentment, a smile that a child has when they are looking into the eyes of their mother.

I want Eliana to be able to share that smile with the world again. More than anything, I want Eliana to see a smile from family when they look back at her. A smile that says” I love you,” a smile that shows “I am proud of you,” a smile that says “I am so glad you are at home forever with us.”

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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