SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County Child Protective Services and other child advocate groups met Friday in San Antonio to develop a better process for adopting out foster children.
One of the speakers at the event, Krizia Ramirez, was herself once a foster child.
"Everybody wants to be part of a family," she said.
Ramirez spent virtually her entire childhood in the system.
"I was in foster care from age 2 to age 18, so 16 years. I was in over 50 foster homes," she said.
Ramirez said it was during a stay at one foster home during her teenage years where she grew to most closely understand and identify what it means to be part of a family. She said it was during that time when she experienced the best and worst times of her youth.
"I really bottomed out. I became a childhood delinquent by doing things that I wasn't proud of. But my foster parents were able to display their true love and affection for me by seeing me through my hard times," she said.
Although her foster mom, Debbie, died of cancer, Ramirez said it was during those years that she was best able to experience the love of a parent figure. She said she developed core traits that helped her enroll in UTSA at age 18. She graduated with degrees in criminal justice and public administration.
Ramirez said the experience of her foster parents standing by her gave her what she needed to make it through.
She offered advice to those considering creating a forever home to foster a child.
"You need to come in with open arms and embrace me and take me as I am. Instead of looking at what was written in paper in black and white from three years ago," Ramirez said.
A Department of Family and Protective Services spokeswoman said the first goal is to re-unite children with their parents. Next would be to seek placement with a family member. An adoptive family would follow but only after parental rights have been legally terminated by a judge.