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Adriana Gomez Maldonado spent around 5 years in Oregon's Foster Care System
There is a sense of camaraderie about Adriana, a kind understanding and kinship she brings to her interactions with people. There’s also a strength that rises up for her people, and speaks out for the things she believes are right. Adriana came to the U.S. when she was 13-years-old. There is no record of her arrival, and there was no comfort in the beginnings of her life here. Not only did Adriana face the language barrier, she also suffered extreme abuse and neglect. Adriana became a part of the foster care system when she was 14 and was placed in a Spanish-speaking foster home. Over the next five years, Adriana found her voice. She learned English. She became the first member of her family to graduate from high school and decided to pursue a nursing degree in college. And she became a relied-upon leader within her community, advocating for other Latino foster youth, aiding young people who also struggle with their documentation status, and speaking out for the rights of those who struggle to be heard. In the face of all odds, Adriana has remained hopeful and connected. She has discovered a strength that enables her to remember her roots while working toward her future. And she has maintained the ability to support others as she betters herself.