Monyay Paskalides, who had spent most of her childhood and adolescence in Florida’s foster care system, had only one wish: to be adopted by her former social worker.
At 19, after growing old out of the system, that dream finally came true.
Leah Paskalides met Monyay Paskalides six years ago when she was appointed social worker. It took about three months for Monyay Paskalides to trust him, according to Leah Paskalides. However, over the years, they’ve made a connection like no other. In fact, Monyay Paskalides started calling her “mom” long before it became official.
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Monyay Paskalides has often asked Leah Paskalides to adopt him legally. It was something they had both always wanted, but they faced a big obstacle.
“I always said I would adopt this child in the blink of an eye,” Leah Paskalides, who is now deputy director of adoptions at Child Safety CoalitionFox News said. “I’ve always been told ‘no’ because of a conflict of interest.”
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However, watching Monyay Paskalides linger with a foster family for nine years has never been easy for Leah Paskalides.
Yet she never left him.
“She was one of those kids who kept me working because I didn’t want her to feel abandoned,” said Leah Paskalides. “I didn’t want to leave her and I wanted her to feel like another person had left her life.”
And that meant the world for Monya Paskalides.
“She has played a major role in my life since the day we met,” Monyay Paskalides told Fox News. “I talk to him about everything.
In December 2020, Leah Paskalides watched a documentary that opened her eyes to adult adoption. She never knew it was even an option.
In January, Leah and Monya Paskalides began filling out the necessary paperwork. On April 27, Leah Paskalides officially received the title of “mom”.
“I was very excited and happy that this was finally happening,” said Monyay Paskalides. It was a moment she had been waiting for six years, she said.
And bringing it to fruition brought an uncontrollable amount of tears to both of their eyes.
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“I wanted to do it because I’ve seen other kids grow old outside of the system… and come of age and really suffer,” said Leah Paskalides. “I just wanted to make sure she knew she had a parent who would fight for her.”