SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — 12-year-old Angelica has been through unimaginable heartache and grief during her nine long years in foster care.
She was almost adopted - on two different occasions - but in both cases, the foster parent passed away.
Angelica tells me, she has just one faint memory of the day long ago, when she was taken away from her biological family when she was 3 years old.
"The only one thing that I remember was kicking the back of the car," she said.
And though she knows, she was removed from her home to keep her safe, Angelica says growing up in the system, has had its ups and downs.
"It's been hard but easy at the same time because I met people that I really loved and cared about me," Angelica said.
A few years ago, Angelica was in the process of being adopted by her foster mom, but sadly, she died of cancer. That woman's friend, then decided to take in and adopt Angelica, but she too, became ill.
"The doctor said she wouldn't be able to last very long," Angelica said of the woman who died 2 years ago.
Through her heartbreak, Angelica continues to stay positive.
"I am grateful for what God has given me," she said.
Angelica is currently living in a group home, and dreams of the day she might be part of a family again.
"I'm hoping that somebody will adopt me, and I will find my forever home," she said.
And what is her ideal family?
"It would have a mom that would really care about me, and a dad too, and dogs that love to have fun and horses that love to be ridden."
When asked what she would do with a mom, Angelica said: "I would like to go shopping and I would like her to teach me how to cook."
Angelica would also like a big sister to do her makeup and be a good role model.
"I want to look up to her and have sister-bonding time," she said.
But while she waits for a forever family, Angelica is embracing life, and enjoying the start of seventh grade.
"It's actually going really good, because I have all of my favorite teachers," she said.
As she looks to the future, she already knows this: "I want foster kids. I want to provide food, clothes, a home, a bed..."
Ultimately, Angelica says, she'd like to adopt and give a foster child, the same gift she deserves, now.
When asked what it would mean to find a home, Angelica said: "It would mean that somebody actually loves me and cares about me."
If you are interested in adopting or becoming a foster family, please call 1-877-I-ADOPT-U.
News 8 would like to thank local photographer Ron Manahan for volunteering his time to take the Heart Gallery portraits you saw in this video.