AURORA, Ore., Nov. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Zoe Niklas celebrates every Nov. 17 as the day that changed her life. Fifty years ago, on that day, at the age of 13, she entered the foster care system, beginning a long process that would eventually take her away from her horrific family situation as the third child of an out-of-control, drug addicted, alcoholic mother who subjected her to a succession of abusive stepfathers.
Older than her years, Niklas was responsible for getting herself into the foster care system, certain that a better life was possible for her. She even found the foster family that would be her salvation when she befriended the daughter of a pastor who lived nearby. The family adopted her at age 18, providing her with the stability she had long sought, and helping to erase the painful times when the abuse continued after she was repeatedly returned to her biological mother through forced repatriation.
Today there are more than 100,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted and more than 20,000 age out of the system each year without being adopted. Niklas wants to be their advocate.
She can explain:
- The special problems associated with adopting older children.
- Why adoption is critical for even older children who are more likely to finish high school and college and have happier lives than children who remain in foster care.
- How her adoptive parents wanted to save the world but ended up "saving one little girl instead."
- How she was able to go to college, marry a good man and have a child of her own without repeating any of her mother's mistakes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zoe Niklas grew up in West Seattle, Wash., the daughter of a woman whom she loved despite her addiction to alcohol and barbiturates; Niklas wrote Driving in the Dark: A Childhood Memoir to share her true story of courage and survival with others who have led difficult lives. Niklas is a graduate of Whitman College. She and her husband David ran a successful horticulture business together for many years; she also was a legislative secretary for a state assemblyman and is a certified fitness instructor.
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SOURCE Zoe Niklas