MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The pandemic has been challenging for everyone.
Now imagine a 22-year-old mother of two who has battled COVID and is just trying to keep her young family safe.
It was a year with a lot of stops and starts for Ada Smith, but quitting wasn’t an option.
“Within the last year I was very paranoid, I was unsure of what was next,” Smith said.
The foster care system has been a part of Smith’s life since age 15. Now, at 22, the young mother of two is navigating the pandemic.
“I would say the whole COVID situation was very traumatic,” she said. “It still is traumatic because you don’t know. I’ve had it twice.”
As case numbers climb, so do worries for her children.
“It’s really scary and I don’t want to leave my kids,” Smith said.
Smith lost her own mom at age 13.
“There’s nothing like your mother’s love,” she said.
She said the pandemic triggered depression and concern about exposing herself and her children to COVID. Smith said she has severe asthma, her daughter was born prematurely and she’s her son’s only living parent. After quitting one job…
“I found a job, but then the George Floyd thing just happened,” she said. “I came to the realization that our Black men aren’t safe.”
The challenges kept piling up. Still, she kept going, making tough decisions for two little people who depend on her the most.
“Transitioning into trying to go to school with the COVID, that was — I caught COVID during that time so I had to step back and I had to find ways and I also had to make sure that my kids were eating,” Smith said. “So I keep going. I want them to have better than what I had.”
Since age 15, Smith has been linked to Connections to Independence, a nonprofit helping foster youth in Hennepin County transition to the community.
Right now, she serves as an Americorps volunteer and calls C2I a place where foster youth can feel safe, feel love and feel stability.
For more information about C2I, click here.