Principal Changes Suspended Student’s Life… By Adopting Her!

Principal with student he adopted

Jason and Marybeth Smith are celebrating nine years of parenthood this Christmas with a beautiful story of love and acceptance.

The heartfelt beginning started to unfold in 2015. Jason, a school principal noticed an 11-year-old girl named Raven sitting outside his office. She had just been suspended from her sixth-grade class for getting into a fight with another classmate.

Jason and Raven
YouTube

“She was just this sweet-looking, little innocent child sitting there, kind of defeated,” Jason recalled during a segment on Good Morning America. “I asked her, ‘What’s going on?’ and she said that she had thrown a cup of yogurt at lunch and had been suspended and was waiting to be picked up.”

Jason asked Raven if that kind of behavior was acceptable. Then he asked if she’d throw food at a sibling or friend while eating at a restaurant, trying to make the point that a school cafeteria was no different. That was when Raven admitted she never went to restaurants because she lived in a group home.

Grade School Principal and His Wife Immediately Began the Process of Fostering and Adopting

At that moment, Jason was drawn to help Raven. So, he went home to his wife to discuss the idea of fostering her. The couple had wanted a family of their own but battled infertility in their earlier years of marriage. When they were unable to have a baby, they took in three foster children whom they’d hoped to adopt. But they returned to their biological mother and father. Heartbroken by the constant letdowns, Jason and Marybeth let go of their dream to be parents.

Raven and Marybeth
YouTube

When Jason asked Marybeth to consider bringing Raven into their home, she had a change of heart.

“This was something that, obviously, he felt pretty passionate about because I’m sure she’s not the only kid that he has dealt with who has been in a similar situation. So something about Raven was special to him, and obviously I trusted him,” she said.

The Smiths immediately started the foster parent recertification process, and Raven joined their family in June of that year. Raven initially felt awkward about living with her principal, who she saw as “the bad guy” because she was constantly in trouble. But she felt right at home after the first weekend.

The Smiths
YouTube

“They got everything that I needed without even knowing that I would be there forever,” she shared. “They just did it.”

From that moment on, Raven knew Jason and Marybeth would “always” be her parents.

On November 3, 2017, Jason, Marybeth, and Raven officially became a family of three when a judge signed the adoption papers.

Adoption Day
YouTube

Today, Raven is studying social work at the University of Kentucky. She credits her career path to Jason and Marybeth.

“Being in foster care completely changed my life,” Raven wrote in an essay, per GMA. “Being fostered by a great set of parents did not erase my trauma, but they provided me with an atmosphere where I learned how to work through it, believe in myself, and give hope to a hopeless kid.”

Watch Jason, Marybeth, and Raven recall the story of a high school principal falling in love with and adopting his student below.

Share this story to spread hope to foster children around the country this holiday season.

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