SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Over the past two decades, a former Adopt 8 child lived in seven foster homes and three group homes - and never ended up getting adopted.
But now, Larry Banks is using his experience to help other foster youth change their own path and has dedicated his life to helping kids.
Watching himself as a little 7-year-old boy on Adopt 8 brought back a few childhood memories for Larry.
And though he never did find an adoptive home, this Adopt 8 follow-up is most certainly a story of success.
"I've had some rough times, I've had some good times," said Larry who is now 25 years old.
Larry was fortunate enough to have the same foster mom from the age of 11 to 18.
"[It was] a very stable home," he said. "I love Michelle. She's like superwoman to me. She's like supermom."
He also has two mentors - sisters Stephanie and Tori – who he considers family.
"They're really important to me in my life," Larry said. "If I hadn't met them, I honestly don't know how I would survive."
Larry says they helped him through the dark times so now, he has dedicated his life to doing the same for other foster youth.
"I just want to give back," he said. "I want to give back and I want to be that light at the end of the tunnel for the youth."
Larry works in the YMCA's permanent connections program and uses his own struggles and experience to help foster children re-establish relationships with biological family, and supportive adults from their past.
"It's hard when you're in the foster care system and you've been disconnected from your family for such a long time, it's hard to welcome them back in," he said.
Just four years ago, Larry reconnected with his own biological mother.
He shared a photo that was taken the first time they met, since being separated right after his birth.
"It was really emotional for me," Larry said. "I remember hugging her and she was saying to me 'my son, my son my son, I miss you, I miss you.' And I'm like, 'I miss you too' - even though I hadn't seen her a day in my life. And once I saw her and gave her the hug, I said, 'I miss you too.'"
Larry says it's important to only look forward.
"The one thing that I told her, is that I didn't want to talk about the past," he said.
A message he also shares with foster kids to give them hope for the future.
"And letting them know, yeah it's hard... but you don't have to fall down the same steps that family members have gone through, you can have a better life," Larry said. "This is your time to start a new path."
If you are interested in adopting or becoming a foster family, please call 1-877-I-ADOPT-U or click here to access the free orientation schedule.
View more incredible Adopt 8 stories at the link below.