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VFA Policy Intern's Final Blog on VFA Experience in Washington, DC with Voice for Adoption

Voice for Adoption Blog

Angelica Cox, Policy Intern 

When I left for college at the age of 18, I swore that I would never look back on my experiences in foster care. I was tired of feeling different from my peers after being stereotyped throughout my childhood, and I was ecstatic to start living a “normal” life hidden from my broken past.

Slowly but surely, my perspective changed.

As I struggled to survive in college, a support group (FAME) for foster youth alumni on campus reached out to me. FAME connected me with a network of people with similar experiences and I finally felt like there were others who could truly understand what I had been through. This group empowered me as an advocate and helped give me the confidence and ability to share my story at state and national levels as a FosterClub intern last summer. Through connections at FosterClub, I heard about Voice for Adoption (VFA). I was mesmerized and captivated by Voice for Adoption when I heard about their mission: to make a difference and represent the 108,000 children in the nation who are waiting to be adopted. As someone who was adopted but transitioned into adulthood without a forever family, I felt like it was my duty to take my advocacy work to the next level in the most influential place I know – Washington, D.C.

As my internship comes to an end, I can honestly say that this was the best decision of my undergraduate career. As the policy intern this summer, I was able to watch the legislative process of The Family First Prevention Services Act unfold, to attend child welfare events in the heart of the city, and to assist VFA Executive Director Schylar Baber as a voice for children in the system. Even when I was completing simple administrative tasks, I left work knowing that I was contributing to something bigger than myself.

My favorite part about this experience was observing hundreds of individuals advocate for reform. Growing up I always wondered if there were people even paying attention to the injustices within the foster care system, but this journey showed me that there are. Although I wish that Congress could pass life-changing legislation quicker than they do now, I’ve learned that every state has different child welfare models and that one solution will not work for everyone. The child welfare system is complex and real change does not happen overnight. However, I believe that Schylar and the other advocates I had the pleasure to work with are passionate and driven enough to make that change happen.