17-Yr-Old Finds Forever Family After 24 Homes And 3,739 Days In Foster Care.

Katie Holstein of Kentucky never pictured herself taking care of a teenager when she became a foster mom three years ago, but that was before she met Akyra!

The 17-year-old came into Katie’s life unexpectedly — and carved out a permanent place in her heart. It didn’t take long for Katie to realize the teen she had been nervous about taking in was exactly where she belonged.

Katie started fostering in 2017 after she decided to stop waiting for “the right circumstances” to enter motherhood. She has since cared for more than 16 children in the system. While she was initially only comfortable with younger kids, she welcomed Akyra into her home through respite care in 2019. She had her hands full, as she was also looking after four young boys at the time. But Akyra fit in so well that it seemed like a perfect match.

“She got along really well with the kids, which, considering how many I had in that tiny little house, that was a big deal,” Katie told People.


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Akyra was even happier with the arrangement, which gave her some much-needed stability following her 24 different placements over 3,739 days. After 10 years in the system, she finally felt at home!

katie and akyra
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“It’s almost too good to be true,” she said. “With all the other foster parents, I had to meet up to their expectations, and with Katie, I can just be myself.”

The following year, Akyra came back to the Holstein home for a long-term placement… before joining the family for good! Katie said she couldn’t imagine saying goodbye to the girl she had grown to love, so on September 25, she made it official!

Not only did Akyra gain a mom, but she also got a little brother! Katie has been fostering 1-year-old Thomas (or “Tiny”) since he was a newborn and ended up adopting the pair together as their friends, family, and social workers cheered them on over Zoom.

akyra and thomas adoption
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Katie couldn’t be more grateful that she took a chance on her new daughter — and that Akyra did the same for her!

“The thing I love about her most is how resilient she is,” Katie told GMA. “Even though she’s been in foster care for so long only to be disappointed, she took a chance on me and my family and let herself be loved again.”

What a beautiful family! After she graduates high school this spring, Akyra plans to study law enforcement in college. No matter where she goes, she knows she’ll always have Katie’s support. As for Katie, she plans to foster more children — including another teenager!

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