How do you rebuild your family after the trauma of being separated from 11 siblings and placement in foster care? For Leandra and four of her sisters, now young adults, it means choosing to live near each other so they can lean on each other and have the support they need to stay on track.
Leandra is 23 now. At age 13, she and her 11 siblings were placed in care. Some were sent to group homes while others were placed in foster families across Central Florida. Several were even placed out of state.
Ten years later, Leandra said the older sisters have come together for support after their difficult experience. They are busy attending college, working, and raising their own small children. “We all help each other where we can with childcare and housing as best we can. When we can’t rely on each other for help, we reach out to the Foundation.”
Two of the sisters have received support with educational materials and tools, housewarming baskets, and housing assistance to name just a few. Leandra and her sisters have also attended several of the monthly Life Skills workshops for assistance with learning how to budget, and how to make healthy decisions in relationships. At the Parenting workshop, one sister showed up with her 3-week-old baby and said, “Help me learn how to parent!” to Eric Olin, youth support manager.
Our team is so hopeful for these siblings who have shown such resilience in the face of hardship and separation.
The sisters are focused on their future – one filled with positivity and family. “Sometimes we take a few steps back,” said Leandra, “but we’re trying.”