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‘My father sent me out for cigarettes. I decided to run away. I needed to find a place he’d never find me.’: Man rescued from abusive family, returns favor by fostering children in need

“After a year of living on the street, strangers approached me and said, ‘We want to take you to school.’ Coming from an abusive household, I had never really learned to trust. I said yes, not really sure what I was agreeing to. I had no home, hope, future, and they gave me all of that and more. I knew I wanted to do the same for other kids.”

‘She was severely malnourished. ‘We don’t expect her to live very long in the orphanage.’ I was in it for the long haul.’: Woman adopts orphan into her forever family, ‘She became mine and I became hers’

“I knew the dangers of short-term volunteers going into orphanages and getting attached. ‘She won’t let anyone play with her. She’s very stubborn.’ But I was stubborn too. Our doctor took off his glasses and looked me in the eyes. ‘Have you considered pursuing custody?’ I felt the weight of his words. I was young. Really young.”

‘We had 90 days to get married. A man who’s never met my family. We both questioned what we’d gotten into.’: Woman takes leap of faith in marrying man who had never met her family

“I remember talking to my Dad after the fact. He said, ‘Ronnie called me to ask my blessing. I couldn’t understand half of what he said, but I told him yes, my daughter could marry him.’ Although, not everyone had encouraging comments. I had frequent questions like, ‘What if this guy just wants a green card?’”

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