Lori and Samantha's Story
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Lori’s journey to adoption began when she turned 40 and realized, “I forgot to have kids. Do I want them?” Her answer was “Yes”! Lori tried the fertility route without any luck but found the answer in adoption. As a substitute teacher, she met children of all ages who needed a home and someone to care for them. A foreign or planned adoption was not an option for her. The foster- to-adopt track fit her single, working woman lifestyle and filled her desire to help a vulnerable child in her own community.

After seeing a Children’s Bureau billboard, Lori saved the telephone number under “A” for adoption. It took more than a year before she called the agency and attended an information meeting. Lori never considered fostering a baby and initially thought that a child between the ages of five and 11 would be ideal. However, social workers handling the case of a bright, talented teenager named Samantha thought the two might be a perfect match.
Samantha was a 16 year old who was featured on Wednesday’s Child, a weekly televison segment on Fox 11 News that highlights children who are available for adoption. She was placed in foster care at age 11 as her mother was in capable of caring for her and her father was not around. She lived in four foster homes before meeting Lori.

Lori and Samantha fondly recall their first meeting as “the awkward picnic”. They were joined by their social workers and met at a local park. Lori says she was immediately drawn to Samantha, who seemed much more fragile than the girl who appeared on Wednesday’s Child. The meeting was a success and both Lori and Samantha wanted to move forward.
The two became a forever family in July 2012. Samantha, who is 17 years old now, has a lot of interests including drawing, photography, design and fashion. She loves to speak French and has an affinity for the language. She also loves animals and attends the Zoo Magnet program at North Hollywood High School.

During this journey to become a parent, Lori, who makes a living as a performer and writer, began writing a show about her experience which she found to be bizarre and humorous. The musical, called The Baby Project, takes on a comedic, fictionalized flair, yet, there are moments where art imitates reality. Lori was nervous as to how Samantha would react to the play but found a big fan in her adopted daughter.

As a single parent, Lori says that having an amazing network of friends gives her the support needed to navigate raising a teenager. “You never know the true strength and endurance of certain relationships until you’re tested in situations like this. For me, when I am in need, there are definitely a handful of people I can call and they actually show up for me,” she said.
She also advises anyone considering adoption to do it. “It’s important to make sure you can financially care for a child, but, more importantly, that you can emotionally handle the responsibility. It really does take a village to raise a child. Find other people doing what you’re doing or who have already done what you’re doing to give you advice and support,” said Lori.

Lori recently received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to help fund The Baby Project. “It was huge honor to receive the NEA grant and now we have to raise funds to match and/or exceed the grant. We’re launching an online crowd fundraising campaign on kickstarter.com. There’s a video on the site with me and Samantha talking about how we found each other and the project,” said Lori.

Go to www.kickstarter.com and search The Baby Project by The Road Theater Company. The fundraising goal is $20,000. Lori and Samantha hope you join them in promoting this wonderful story about foster care, adoption, love, family and more!