Every single child deserves to grow up with a loving family, people who support and encourage them through all of life’s most important milestones. For children who end up in the foster care system, through no fault of their own, a stable home and family seem like a faraway dream. Over 20,000 children age out of foster care every year in the United States alone, leaving them to cope with adult life having never truly experienced a childhood. For 19-year-old Monyay Peskaledi, however, aging out of foster care meant finally having the family she always wanted.
Leah Peskaledis, Monyay’s caseworker, first met Monyay when she was just 13 years old. Over the years, Peskaledis watched Monyay overcome everything life threw her way. The ambitious teen did volunteer work, excelled in school, and even graduated early as she prepared for life after aging out of foster care.
The bond between Leah and Monyay grew stronger over time, and recently, the caseworker fulfilled the promises she made years ago.
“I made her a promise that I would find her an adoptive family. I just didn’t know that I would be the adoptive family,” new mom Leah told WGN after making Monyay’s adoption official.
Previously, Leah’s role as Monyay’s caseworker made her unable to adopt her. But once she was no longer classified as a foster child, the new little family seized the opportunity to make their dream a reality.
“Everything is official, the one thing that I wanted since I was a kid has finally come true,” said Monyay.
In an emotional clip, the two sit side by side as the judge signs the adoption papers.
“With my signature, it is official – happy adoption day,” the judge says as the courtroom fills with celebratory cheers.
The pair tearfully embrace, their first act as mother and daughter. Though Monyay is grateful to finally have the family she always wanted, she will continue advocating for other teens in foster care.
“Most people believe that we’re in here because we got into some kind of trouble, but really it’s just the circumstance and, no, we don’t want to be in here either,” she said. “…I want to continue to raise awareness for teen and adoption and adoption period.”