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Tampa Bay area family adopts teen who spent years in foster care

Hopes their story will inspire more adoptions
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Posted at 4:11 PM, Nov 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-26 16:11:33-05

TAMPA, Fla. — 17-year-old Armani Malcolm used to be part of the state's foster care statistics.

Currently, there are more than 800 children in foster care across the state of Florida.

Armani was placed into the system just before her 13th birthday.

“I was 12 officially when I got removed. It was just like, my bio mom was abusive, like emotionally, physically and stuff," Armani said.

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Over the span of five years she spent time in a handful of foster centers and went through three failed families.

"Being in foster care gave me a lot of anxiety and depression because I felt like nobody wanted me. I didn’t have a family. I didn’t have anything but myself," Armani said.

At the age of 17 she planned on aging out of the system and never finding her forever family.

With that mindset, she graduated high school early and was ready to take on adulthood. In reality, it was something she had been doing since 13.

But life had different plans when Brea Malcolm and her family popped in her life.

“I met her on her birthday and I just knew. I was like oh my goodness she might be the one," Brea said.

Brea and her husband always thought about adoption.

In fact, through Heart Gallery, a non-profit organization that helps match fosters with families, she had seen Armani before.

Heart Gallery holds events showcasing their children needing homes through fundraisers and photos shoots that show the children's personality.

It was at a Heart Gallery event years ago Brea saw Armani's photo and said a small prayer for her and all the children.

She never thought that small prayer would be answered later.

Twins delayed the adoption process for Brea and her husband, but it didn't end it completely.

She soon became involved with Guardian Ad Litem where she would meet Armani and the rest is history.

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Armani is now in cosmetology school with hopes of becoming an OBGYN. She said she never lost hope. Brea and her husband are proof of that.

If you would like more information about the Heart Gallery or Guardian at Litem visit: https://heartgallerytampa.org/ and https://www.galtampa.org/.