Dear guardians,

I barely knew you when you texted me to get lunch with you and your 1-year-old daughter. Since then, I've lived with you and your three children for over five years. I am so grateful you took me in and opened my eyes to opportunities I never thought I'd see.

You took me in when I was a scared, vulenerable 15-year-old. You were aware of my situation, and you being the caring individuals you are, accepted me into your home at my greatest time of need. Although you never raised a teenager before, you knew how much I needed you.

Before I lived with you, I presented myself as helpless, confused, and I gave excuses for all of my behaviors. I was so caught up on my previous upbringing that I refused to move past it.

Day by day, week by week, month by month, you worked with me to show me that I am not a helpless individual. You embedded into my head that I am in control of my own life.

Throughout high school, I started noticing things about myself. I wanted to participate in school. I joined some clubs, a team, and I won a lot of academic awards. I loved who I was becoming. This weird sensation of motivation developed, and I loved the feeling.

Going off to college was by far the scariest decision of my life. I knew I wanted to, but I didn't want to leave this newfound happiness. I was petrified that you'd forget about me. But you didn't. You pushed me as you always did, and you reassured me that you'd always be around.

Honestly, it's very hard to write this without tearing up. From a lunch date text to living with you for over five years, I've become a whole new person. What I love about your contribution to my life is that you didn't hold my hand and baby my every decision. You taught me how to be an individual and to make my own my decisions.

I've made many decisions in life. Some were good, some bad. I used to expect you to fix my mess when I made the bad ones. You refused to fix my mistakes, but you always pointed me in the right direction. You made me see that I can get things done on my own.

Thanks to you, I learned that strength is something you choose. You didn't give me strength, you showed me how to find it in myself. I was very resentful of my past, so I used it as an excuse. You didn't accept the excuses, which forced me find solutions to my problems.

I can't thank you two enough for showing me how much of a strong and independent person I am. Although I still call you and ask how to make tacos or how to put windshield wiper fluid in my car, I do a lot of things on my own because now I know how.

My past is still there, but you showed me that it isn't my present or future. I never thought I'd be where I am today, and I am extremely ecstatic to see where I'll be later in life.

Thank you for being my support system, care takers, and motivators. But most of all, thank you so much for being my guardians