This is something that is very close to my heart.

I'm so proud to have a family that is open in discussing topics that a lot of people are afraid or embarrassed of. Whether it's my struggle with anxiety, infertility, or our deep connection to children in foster care/adoption, we know that someone, somewhere, will hear our stories and it will help them in their struggle in a way that could change a life.

My oldest son, who is now 12, was in foster care when he was just under 2 years old. He moved around from home to home until he became legally free for adoption at the age of 5. After a very long journey, we brought him home forever on his 6th birthday. He will always have insecurities and struggles because of his past, but he also knows how lucky he is to have found a forever family. Not everyone in foster care will have that opportunity.

March is aging-out awareness month. When children in foster care turn 18 and haven’t been adopted, they age out of the foster care system and have to transition to adult life. That happens to over 150 young people in Idaho every year.

JEMfriends is a non-profit that has two homes for aged-out youth. They had a group that gathered on the Statehouse steps to read a proclamation from the governor declaring March as "Aging-out Awareness Month."

One of the young women that spoke aged-out over a year ago.

She said she was in college, but because of lack of stability, her grades failed, she lost her scholarships and she spent time homeless.

Take a look at these facts and figures from the governor's proclamation:

-1,350 Idaho children are in foster care
-12 percent age out every year when they turn 18 (that's 162 young people)
-half will not have completed high school

And 20 to 30 percent will be incarcerated within two years of aging out.

JEMfriends is funded solely by private donations. They provide mentors and programs as resources for those who have aged out of the foster system.

There is a community event and youth panel for aging-out awareness month on March 30. It will be held at the Tree City Church on Eagle Road at 6 p.m.

Don't be afraid to ask questions and learn more about foster care/adoption and how you can help. Learn more, HERE.

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