My name is Adamma, and I was adopted from Eastern Africa with my three younger sisters in 2005. I loved attending school, and I received all A’s that first year of my adoption. I even started looking at college brochures. My sisters joined soccer teams and we made lots of friends in the neighborhood and at our church. We were getting excited about our futures, until everything changed.
A few months after our adoption, our adoptive family started to ignore us. They started acting as if they didn’t want us anymore. Soon, they planned a family vacation back to Kenya to visit our relatives. When we got off the plane, our adoptive mother dropped us off at our relatives’ house and told us we wouldn’t be going home. We were shocked. They left us without money, without food, without our American passports or green cards, and without any hope. For one year, we lived with our relatives, sleeping on the floor of their single room hut, pleading with the American embassy and sending letters to people in government in Minnesota and Washington. Finally, social services brought us back home, and we went to a foster home.
That’s when we got our CLC attorney. He spent hours meeting with us and asked us what we wanted. He made sure we were sent to a school where our educational needs could be met. He helped one of my sisters find a summer job and asked the county to pay for my SAT prep classes. He also put us in contact with an immigration attorney to help our older brother come over from Kenya to live with us. Though we had been placed with a wonderful couple, we were not ready to be adopted outside our family. Our CLC attorney listened to us and empowered us to speak up for ourselves and to explain our desires to the court.
Even though I had missed a full year of school when our adoptive family abandoned us, I earned enough credits that first year back to graduate on schedule. I even applied to colleges and was accepted at several in the Twin Cities. I decided to attend one near my sisters and was able to get funding through several different scholarships and grants. My CLC attorney encouraged me to create an independent living plan and petitioned the court to allow my foster care benefits to continue while I finish my schooling. Once I graduate, I hope to bring my sisters to live with me, but until then, I know they’re in safe hands with our CLC attorney watching out for them, as he has for the past three years.
I am proud of what I have accomplished, and I am grateful that Children’s Law Center was there to listen and to offer us stability, support, and confidence. Our CLC attorney empowered us to speak up for what we wanted, and he translated those wishes into reality.