From single career woman to working mother of two
Jazmin Smith was enjoying her busy career and single life. And then, her life abruptly changed course. Her nieces, Alani and Araya, needed someone to care for them. She put her life on hold and added “two blessings” to her world, she said.
In 2013, she became a foster parent to Alani, an infant at the time. “That was one of the best gifts I got that year, or ever,” she said. She later fostered Araya and has since adopted both of her nieces, now 5 and 2. Her motto is “Family first,” she said. “I wanted them to know their family.”
And part of knowing family is knowing their birth mother. Smith has made sure the girls see their birth mother, her sister, as well.
Speaking at the 2017 Celebrate Adoption: Circus of the Heart event, hosted by DHS, MN ADOPT and partners in November, Smith urged relatives to “step up and do what you can.”
While she had an excellent role model in her mother, she said, raising children can be “hard” and she needed some assistance. So she turned to MN ADOPT for information and resources. They listened to her, she said, and helped. Since then, she said she’s “been on a roll.”
In 2016, families adopted 868 children from the foster care system; relatives adopted 50 percent of them. For Smith, adopting her nieces “was one of the best experiences in my whole life,” she said. “I love seeing them smile. They’re healthy and happy.”
For more information, view Smith’s video on her experience.
Currently 766 foster children are waiting for families to adopt them.
- 67 percent are children of color
- 66 percent have a documented special need, including physical, mental, emotional or a behavioral disability
- 61 percent are siblings who need to be adopted together
- 35 percent are 6 to 11 years old
- 35 percent are under 6 years old, although many of these children are part of sibling groups who need to be adopted together
- 30 percent are 12 to 18 years old
For more information on adopting foster children, visit the department’s adoption and kinship webpage or MN ADOPT’s webpage.