According to the most recent federal data, the number of children who are part of America’s foster care system is over 400,000. That number is devastating to say the least. It means that that many children struggle to find a permanent place to call home and to be accepted by the families they are placed at.
Some adapt easily. Others, however, have a hard time getting used to that kind of life and are left emotionally damaged long after they come of age and become adults.
Jessica Benzakein is a single mother of two. Today, she’s at a good place because she is independent and has her children by her side, but she had a pretty rough childhood. When she was only 12, Jessica’s mom lost custody of her and she spent the next couple of years going from home to home.
Unfortunately, she never settled and felt lonely most of her life.
HAPPENING NOW: Today marks a big day for Jessica Benzakein. She’s been a foster parent for years, opening her heart and home to foster kids in need.
Today, she finally gets to adopt these SIX kids she’s had for years.
Will, 17 pic.twitter.com/iEVv7MIvhE
— Tony Atkins (@TonyAtkinsTV) January 3, 2020
Today, however, Jessica is doing fine and she wants to make a change. And that change starts with her adopting six siblings she fostered.
Namely, when she learned of Will, 17, Carter, 14, Sidney, 13, and Buddy, 8, as well as Kendrich, 6, and T.J., 4, she knew she couldn’t let them be placed in different homes. She really wanted to see them grow together, and the only way for that to happen was for her to welcome all of them in. The siblings loved their new place and were well accepted by Jessica’s biological children, Eli, 14, and Brenna, 9.
Being a single mom of two wasn’t easy, and being a single mom of 8 would be even more difficult and demanding, but Jessica was willing to take the risk.
Sharing her incredible life journey with Today, this brave woman said, “Everybody tells me how lucky these kids are and what a good thing I did. But … I’m going to cry … they grounded me. I went through my 20s thinking I didn’t really need a family. But I did. They give me purpose.”
Finally, last year, a Milwaukee judge ruled that she could officially adopt her foster children.
“Do you think it’s in their best interest that you be their mom?” the judge asked her.
“I think we are pretty good together,” she said. “I don’t know if I’m the best mom, but I’m their best mom. I love ’em.”
Speaking to WISN, one of the kids, Sidney, said, “I feel like this is the best choice that I could have.”
Carter added: “The whole adoption thing doesn’t really matter, because we consider each other as a family no matter what.”
Jessica is a woman with a heart of gold. We wish her and her family a beautiful life.