With tears collecting in her eyes, Lupe Ortiz-Tovar explained why she always felt different from the other children.
Lupe went into foster care when she was 5 years old and lives in more than 18 homes across multiple nations throughout her childhood. She learned not to get her hopes up guessing the next household would be her last.
“I think you remember the honeymoon stage of going into a family, but it’s never yours, ” she explained in a video by the Human Right Campaign. “It’s really like you’re a visitor in someone else’s home and you don’t know how long that’s going to last.”
Lupe’s experience being shuffled around the foster care system is one that’s shared by far too many children. A point-in-time survey saw more than 420,000 children were in foster care in the U.S. in September 2015 — up from 2011, when it stands at merely over 397,000.
While there are various reasons why children are placed into care and many children are in the organizations of the system only temporarily, thousands share Lupe’s story. She transferred from home to home until she aged out of the organizations of the system.
Finding a real home to bellow her own only wasn’t meant to be.
Or so she thought.
In 2005, two terrific guys came into Lupe’s life.
“Little did I know that I would meet Clay and Bryan, ” Lupe told. “And my fathers would find me . “
Lupe fulfilled Clay and Bryan, a same-gender couple, while completing a summer internship with Foster Club, a nonprofit aimed at helping children in foster care.
In the decade after that, Clay and Bryan became close mentors to Lupe, she tells over email. And finally, in 2015 — after Clay and Bryan’s marriage could be legally recognized — the couple adopted Lupe in Oklahoma when she was in her early 30 s.
“There is no such thing as too late to find your forever families, ” Lupe said. “There are no term limits on the love that families can provide one another! “
“We all added something to each other’s lives, ” Lupe said in the video by HRC. “It was like a puzzle that was just waiting — we were all waiting for each other.”
The Human Rights Campaign is using Lupe’s story to illustrate how crucial it is to allow LGBTQ couples to have the ability to adopt.
“Kids shouldn’t have to wait to find their eternally families because of discrimination, ” HRC states in the video.
And discrimination is very much on the table as Oklahoma Senate Bill 1140 hangs in the balance. The bill would allow certain faith-based child welfare agencies to deny adoption opportunities to kids in need based on the potential guardians’ sexual orientations or gender identities.
HRC, which is strongly against the legislation, is advising Oklahomans to text “FAMILY” to 30644 or call 405 -5 21 -2 711 to connect with a state House representative to demand the bill be defeated.
It’s not just about ensuring equality for queer couples, the organization argues. Having the alternative also lets many children in need — like Lupe had been — to find loving parents.
“I’ve never had or was just thinking about what a great father is — I’ve never had that painting in my life, ” Lupe tells in the video below. “And so[ Clay and Bryan] have really completed many empty pictures and “ve given me” plenties to dream about and hope for in my own life.”
Watch Lupe’s story by the Human Rights Campaign, an Upworthy Handpicked video:
Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com