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Amy Foster officially becomes a mom tomorrow

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Pete City Council member Amy Foster will officially become a mom Tuesday morning, her Facebook page announces. She’s been navigating the adoption process since March, when she took in a senior in high school that had bounced from home to home for several years.

Foster is adopting 18-year-old Mariah Boyd, who just graduated from high school in Polk County. She’s doing so despite the fact that Boyd is technically an adult and without a second thought that she’s only known the girl for a short time.

Foster’s Facebook profile for months has documented the journey the two women have shared. From boosting ACT scores to prom nights and beach days, a series of photographs show a mother-daughter duo as inspirational as any.

“Tomorrow Mariah Boyd and I will legally become a forever family,” Foster posted on Facebook. “There aren’t enough words in the universe to explain all that she has added to my life, taught me, or the reasons I love her to the moon and back. It truly does feel like the entire universe conspired to make this day possible and I couldn’t be more thankful for the love and support each of you have provided along the way.”

The post accompanied two photos of what are presumably adoption announcemetns or cards of some sort. On one there is a quote from Paulo Coelho.

“So I love you because the entire universe conspired me to help me find you,” the quote reads.

Theirs is a different sort of love story where it’s not a boy meets girl sort of tale, but rather one of hope and inspiration.

Foster’s journey with her almost-daughter became popularized in early June when Boyd documented her dramatic and sad tale with a video she posted on Facebook. The video shows Boyd displaying index cards with words written on them, each furthering her journey for the viewer.

The story is told through 61 cards beginning with a simple hello. She goes on to describe a troubled childhood in which she watched her mom “snort pills up her nose” and had to use her urine in order for her parents to pass drug tests.

Boyd was originally removed from the home at just 2 years old, but was reunited with her biological mother years later. Boyd finally mustered the strength to be her own advocate, reported her mother to the Department of Children and Families and was removed from the home again.

Her journey led Boyd to be a reluctant adoptee. The initial meetings between Boyd and Foster were challenging at first as Foster took time and patience to earn the girl’s trust.

Boyd ends her index card-styled story with a message of hope to other kids who may be in a similar situation.

“As long as you have hope and stay strong,” she wrote. “your time will come.”

Boyd responded to her mom’s Facebook post with an obviously excited proclamation that the two have just one more sleep.

“Before I even knew you, you were wanted, welcomed, and needed … and YOU will always be LOVED. Thank you for being the peanut butter to my jelly, you complete this home. I love you and am thrilled I get to come along for each next step as you continue to become a woman who will light the world afire and change it for the better along the way,” Foster’s post concluded.

Foster’s adoption of an older teen is fitting for the first-term City Council member who has been active as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem  for the Sixth Circuit Court and the executive director of the Guardian ad Litem Foundation of Tampa bay.

Boyd plans to attend community college and recently attended a leadership conference in which she, according to an early post by Foster, is “using her voice to make the child welfare system better for others.”

Boyd will also be changing her name along with the adoption proceedings. After paperwork is finalized she will be Elena Nicole Foster. She even gets a new birth certificate reflecting the change.

Congratulations to both Foster and Elena. The two have shown the community what a feel-good story and happy ending is all about.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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