Before Jessica Benzakein was a mother, she was a child in foster care. According to People, Benzakein was just 12 years old when her mother lost custody of her.
And from that point on, until she was 18, Benzakein was passed from one foster parent to the next. She remembers being told, “He said, ‘If adoption is your plan A, you are too old.’ And he wasn’t saying it to be mean. I got it.”
“His point was, if your plan A is to be adopted, you don’t fit what people are looking for. By 12, they figure you are deeply damaged and horribly troubled and there’s no reversing it. Between the ages of 2 and 5, your chances of adoption drop substantially.”
Single Mom Adopts 6 Siblings Years After Being a Foster Child Herself
After aging out of the system and going to college, Benzakein told Today that she still felt the pain of rejection and loneliness. Especially around the holiday when she had nowhere else to go.
Eventually, Benzakein became a mother herself, and as a result of her past, a foster mom as well because she wanted to make a difference. About five years ago, according to WTMJ, she fostered six siblings; Will, 17, Carter, 14, Sidney, 13, Buddy, 8, Kendrich, 6, T.J., 4.
The mom told Today, “In Wisconsin alone, we have over 7,000 foster kids. The number of sibling sets is crazy high, and they’re often broken up.”
And not only was there room in the mom’s heart for six boys, but there was also room in her biological children’s hearts as well. Then, in January 2020, Benzakein adopted all six boys as her own.
Sidney told WTMJ, “I was surprised I made it through. I’m just glad I’m in a good situation.” However, while Benzakein often hears how lucky her sons are to have her, she doesn’t look at it that way.
“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.”
According to Children’s Rights, “on any given day, there are nearly 443,000 children in foster care in the United States. In 2017, more than 690,000 children spent time in U.S. foster care.”
Now, Benzakein has the family she dreamed of having when she was a child and that’s all thanks to her eight wonderful children who she loves and adores immensely. She told Today, “We’ve been living like a family for a long time. But now, no one can tell us we’re not.”
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.
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