Michelle spent 3 years in Michigan's foster care system.

At nine years old, Michelle Walls and her three siblings were placed in the foster care system. At first, Michelle and her siblings were placed in kinship care with an aunt. After the court determined the siblings could not be split among other family members, Michelle and her sister were split up from their brothers and placed into foster homes. At the age of thirteen, Michelle and her sister were adopted together and the visitation with their brothers ended. While her adoption help her to live a normal life without trauma, the assumption of a successful adoption was not accurate. When she left for college, Michelle’s adoptive parents ended their relationship with her and banned her from visiting her sister still under their care. Due to her adoption status, Michelle was excluded from scholarships, aid and support programs as well as the security of caseworker and government support. Michelle is part of Michigan State University’s FAME - Fostering Academics, Mentoring Excellence - program which supports foster youth alumni in pursuing their college goals.
Michelle will complete post-baccalaureate studies at Michigan State University while working part-time as a research assistant and personal trainer. She has maintained a 3.7 GPA with plans to apply for medical school next spring. Since her foster care experience, she has reconnected with her biological family, sister and two brothers, but still struggles to rebuild relationships. Michelle believes there is gap in the system when it comes to siblings and would like to bridge over the connections and disconnections between policy and actuality.

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