Hometown Hero: Social worker adopts teen girl

- 5,110 days. That's how long Brittany Riddle lived in foster care.

All she ever wanted, since she was three years old, was a family to call her own.

"I was like scared that I wasn't going to get adopted. But, I was still praying and keeping my hopes up and trusting in the Lord that he was going to find a good family for me," said Brittany.

Three months ago, one day before her 14th birthday, Brittany's dream of having her own parents finally came true.

On October 31, Brittany's former case manager and mentor officially became her mom.

"It's fun! Having a teenager is fun. We love going to cheer for her and giving her the opportunity to thrive," said Brittany's new mom, Colleen.

Before the adoption Colleen spent every Wednesday mentoring Brittany, and the days in between trying to find her a forever family. But after years of searching and no results, Colleen and her husband realized they had the answer they'd been looking for all along.

"It just got the point where my husband and I were like, 'why not adopt her'? I know her really well. I know her better than anybody else," said Colleen.

She knew that Brittany had moved dozens of times over the past 11 years from foster family to group home, and she wanted their home to be her last.

"This is it. You're done. We're your family and forever home and forever school," said Colleen.

So five days before Brittany's adoption was finalized, the Riddles bought a house big enough to fit their growing family. And three weeks later their family of three became four when Colleen gave birth to their son, Owen.

In just one month, the Riddles added two new kids to their brood.

"It was a whirlwind of activity, but it was really important to us that she moved in before the baby was born. We wanted to have her established as part of the family. So that he could just grow up with her. He will only know life with Brittany as his older sister," said Colleen.

Brittany still can't believe that after all those years of dreaming and waiting, she finally gets to be a daughter and a big sister and have a family of her own.

"It's awesome knowing that I have a family and that every single day I can come home to a place that I know I'm going to be here forever."

 

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