Adopted out of foster care at 6, Williams-Baugh said she endured years of abuse and neglect. She told USA TODAY she sometimes went days without food and was forced to go to the bathroom in a bucket.
She said she was removed from that Michigan home and placed back in foster care in 2001, just before her 14th birthday. The teen moved among foster homes and residential facilities until aging out of the system.
She also launched a greeting card business called Halo Greetings, selling cards designed for those connected to the child welfare system. “Once a stranger, but now the volunteer who has actually changed my life,” one card reads. “You are not alone,” says another. A third, for parents, expresses appreciation: “Thank you for being the best part of my story.”
Williams-Baugh plans to use the proceeds from her business to launch a nonprofit, Family For Us Too, to offer foster youth access to the support system and resources she never had.
She wants to create a family-like network for foster youth who are aging out of the system, while also connecting them with local therapists, nurses, hygienists, and other experts. She envisions how-to classes on taking care of yourself, cleaning, parenting, and handling relationships.
Though Williams-Baugh has struggled with attachments throughout her life, she found one deep family connection in Deborah Ford, the mother of Williams-Baugh’s high school sweetheart and grandmother of Williams-Baugh’s oldest son.
Ford watched Williams-Baugh’s evolution over two decades from a struggling teen in foster care to a mother and advocate. She said she’s immensely proud of Williams-Baugh’s compassion, strength, and refusal to be held back by the challenges of her past.
“I think people need to see someone positive come out of a situation like that and know that anything’s possible,” Ford said. “She would be that person that would uplift people.
The author of "I'm Good" shares the story of her struggle and fight to build resiliency for survival.
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