Twenty-five year old Julia spent more than 11 years in North Carolina's foster care system. During this time, she lived in more than a dozen foster homes, and lost contact with her seven brothers and sisters. "If someone had asked me what I was waiting for while I was in foster care, I would say that I was waiting to be reconnected with my siblings," she says. Her bond with her older sister was particularly strong, and it was devastating to be separated from her and not know where she was.

Sensing Julia's distress and sadness, her foster mother tracked down her sister, who was homeless, and asked her to come live with them. Now, Julia and her older sister have become each other's lifelines. And Julia's dream of finding a lasting, loving family was realized when she was adopted by her foster mother in December 2005 at the age of 23.

Now an author and advocate for foster care reform, Julia speaks powerfully about her experiences in foster care and the need for change. "Flexible federal dollars would help some children achieve permanence faster," she says.

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