01.10.2024

My Story: From Adoption to Independence

By Lexie, Launch Success participant

When I got my driver’s license at 16, it made me feel a sense of power and freedom that I didn’t have before.

When I was 14 years old, I came to America through an international adoption agency. At the time, I didn’t know English or how to talk to my adopted mother; she didn’t even understand my home language. There was miscommunication, culture and language differences, which made me feel isolated and alone. After nine months, the adoption failed and I entered the foster care system, since I had nowhere to go and had to be 18 to return to my family in Bulgaria.

I got connected to Treehouse in 8th grade. When I was first paired with my Education Specialist, Mary, I told her the only thing I really wanted in life was to be independent. At that point, I had been in seven different foster homes before my 8th grade teacher opened her house to me, even though she didn’t really have the space. It provided me with stability, and I stayed with them all throughout high school.

When Mary told me about the Driver’s Assistance program, which would make it possible to take driver’s education and get my license, I knew it was my chance — no longer relying on others, getting to travel and go where I want when I want. I started driver’s education at 15 years old, which is the soonest I was allowed to. I didn’t want to wait any longer.

Where I’m from in Bulgaria, it is rare for women to get this kind of freedom. You don’t get to go to college; usually you’d get married and have children when you are young. You are essentially a housewife. For me to be able to get my license and have the opportunities that I do in America, it’s my way of showing my country and my friends in Bulgaria that there is life outside of Bulgaria. I think of my home country as being in a little bubble, where women are not given the same freedoms we are here, but people don’t realize how great it can be when you leave. I spent a long time wanting to go back. But knowing what I know now of America and the freedoms I’ve been given, my perspective has changed, and I am staying here.

Without Treehouse’s help, I think I would have gone down the wrong path.

I think of Treehouse like family; my Treehouse person was always there for me, even more than the family I was placed with. They never turned their back on me and showed that, yes, there is a path for me, and just because my life has been messed up doesn’t mean my future will be.

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About the Author

Lexie is a Launch Success participant who began receiving support from Treehouse in 2016 when she entered foster care. She came to America through an international adoption agency and following a failed adoption, she was unable to return to her home country of Bulgaria. She recently started college and is studying criminal justice.


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