Not many people can claim they share something in common with the winningest gymnast of all time, Simone Biles. But the athlete who is known for her balance on the beam and velocity on the vault, is lesser known as a former foster kid, adopted at age six. For foster and former-foster youth around the country, this is more than a blip in her biography, it’s a special connection, proving they aren’t defined by their start in life.
Brandon, Allison and Ellie Herrera were in the foster care system from a young age. “When they decided to put the three children up for adoption, I thought three are too many,” says single mom Brenda Herrera, in Spanish. Herrera may have gotten more than she bargained for when she opened her home up to foster care. But she says by God’s grace and with the help of her older children, she was able to adopt the siblings and give them what all children deserve. “For me, all three kids are my life, one isn’t only a mother biologically, as long as a mother raises children willingly with unconditional love and support, that’s the most important.”
Another thing all children deserve, is to believe they can grow up to be something great. But with statistics like less likely to graduate high school and more likely to end up homeless, kids in foster care often have the odds stacked against them. That’s why seeing someone like Simone Biles literally vault past the obstacles, and onto the world stage, is so special. Because as they say, if you see it, you can be it.
There are more than 2100 children in the foster care system in Kern County. If you’re interested in becoming a resource parent, you can go through a local agency or the county. You can contact the county through the Department of Human Services, or look up a local foster agency. Victory Family Services, which is the agency that placed Brandon, Allison and Ellie, can be reached at 661-912-0111.