When teacher Zoe Henry was assigned to a class of second-grade students, her life changed forever. You see, that was the day she met little Lauralee. The youngster had dressed smart for the occasion, boasting a bubbly personality despite years of struggle. Zoe was immediately taken by her, but the girl’s tough past wasn’t as unique as you might think. What made Lauralee’s life so tricky before she walked into that class?
Well, the little girl was a foster child, and as we suggested, her story is surprisingly common. According to the ABC 7 website, close to 19,000 kids find themselves in a similar position across California’s Los Angeles County. Wow, that’s an eye-opening figure, right? In addition to that, over 600 of those youngsters require a forever home. The educator went into a bit more detail about herself and the day she met Lauralee at the school in April 2022.
It’s quite the ride. Zoe was speaking on the Tamron Hall Show via a webcam. “I had subbed at the school the year before. They called me and asked if I wanted to take over this class, and I, of course, jumped at the situation. My friends at the school said that I was going to have her foster daughter in my class.
You probably guessed who that was. First meeting, man, I’ll never forget it. She was all dressed up and ready to come be in second grade. I had memories of her being so silly, and she just was very spunky, very passionate, very fun. We thought she was only going to be there for about 30 days.
You see, it looked like someone was finally going to take Lauralee out of foster care. At that point, everything appeared to be in place. Yet, just like in the past, the youngster’s hopes were dashed. The interested clan walked away in the end, leaving her in an all-too-familiar position. Lauralee touched on the difficulties she regularly faced while speaking to the Tamron Hall Show via webcam.
The kid said, “I never knew my amount of time when I was at each Foster House. Everything changed, and then I just went to another home and like just kept going like that. So it looked like that cycle would continue following the latest disappointment. But Zoe was desperate to break it once and for all. The teacher noted, “I didn’t want her to go to another stranger’s house, and I said, ‘Please let me have her.
This wasn’t a snap decision either. She’d been thinking about it for a while, as Zoe told ABC7. ‘Lauralee came into my class, and I took just one look at her, her little freckles, her little birthmark. I said, ‘I am going to adopt this little girl. She’s my daughter the minute I set eyes on her.
Prior to that, the educator, who’s a single parent, hadn’t even considered the thought of bringing another kid home. Quite a switch, right? But now we’ve got one more question. What else was driving Zoe on to pursue this? Well, following their webcam chats, she and Lauralee appeared on stage at the Tamron Hall Show to continue telling their story.
The mom had a bit to say to the host regarding her mindset. Zoe said, “I was so in love with this little girl and knew being in foster care was like and said how much trauma she had already been through and just knew that if I could have her, I could love her.” And she didn’t stop there. “I mean, as a teacher, you want to make all your students have a better life, but when I had her in my classroom, I mean, I knew the trauma and I knew the difficulty she had already faced. I had the connection with her.
I wanted her. I knew she was mine.” What about Lauralee, though? How did she feel knowing that her second-grade teacher was now pushing to adopt her? Well, the youngster came clean in front of the cameras.
Apparently, she didn’t see it coming at all. Despite Zoe’s growing love for her, she had a few other thoughts to share too. Lauralee told the audience, “I was surprised. I didn’t expect her to say that. I don’t know what I expected.
I didn’t know what my future was going to be like. I probably sometimes that night when I went to bed, I worried about if I had a bad future or not, and I tried my best to just go to bed. And every night, I missed my bio mother. It was really hard to move to a different home. That’s a lot of emotional stuff to deal with, right?
Most adults would struggle to get a handle on it, let alone a kid. Anyway, once Zoe made her intentions known, what happened next? Looking back on that time, Zoe continued her conversation with ABC7 in December 2021. The single mom recalled, “With COVID, things got a little bit delayed. The court shut down, and then once they had filed the adoption paperwork, there was another delay assigning an attorney because of COVID.
There were a lot of kids that needed to be adopted, so these attorneys were backlogged with all these kids.” Zoe said, “It seems like it’s taken forever, but I’m just so grateful for every little step that we’ve been through together.” Yes, on November 20th, 2021, the wait was finally over for her and Lauralee. It was a special day in more ways than one, too. You see, National Adoption Day fell on that date, as good a time as any to do it, wouldn’t you agree?
So Lauralee was joined by more than 160 other kids who were also welcomed into new homes on the day. Due to the pandemic, though, it had to be done virtually. Yet that didn’t seem to bother them. After two years, Lauralee could now say she was an official member of the Henry family. What a great moment.
As for Zoe, she made an interesting comment about her adopted daughter’s biological mother. The teacher appeared to have a lot of empathy for her, as we’ll soon find out. Zoe told ABC7, “There’s so many kids that just need homes, and they’re just waiting. I know Lauralee’s mom really loves her. I know she really wanted to be a better part of her life, but like I tell Lauralee, her mom loved her so much that she would let her be adopted so that it could give her what she needed.
The incredible story gained a lot of news coverage, with overseas outlets sharing it in December 2021. UK newspapers such as The Sun, The Mirror, and The Daily Mail all covered it via their respective websites. Meanwhile, the Tamron Hall Show posted Zoe and Lauralee’s segment on YouTube in April 2022. What are Zoe and Lauralee’s plans going forward now? Well, Zoe provided an intriguing answer.
She informed ABC7, “We have a four-bedroom house, and we’ve got a bedroom with several beds, and that’s why we go on the Heart Gallery page. We still have a lot of room in our hearts and our home, and we want to open it up to more kids. Watch this space, then.”