At 24 years old, Shay Roberson was desperate for a mom. After aging out of the foster care system at 18, she wondered if having a family was a realistic option.
Shay, along with her two sisters, entered the child welfare system in 2005. She was 11 years old when she started to bounce from foster home to foster home, sometimes living with her relatives. Sometimes the siblings would return to their mother’s care, but her addiction to crack cocaine ensured that Shay and her growing family, now five siblings, would reenter the child welfare system.
According to the IndyStar, Shay’s siblings were adopted by a relative, but not Shay. For years, the only constant in her life was Ginnie Wing, a school resource officer, whom she met when she was in the sixth grade. “My only interactions with police officers were always bad,” Shay told the outlet, “so whether they were coming to my house or, you know, in my neighborhood or removing me from my parents.”
But Wing was different. For one thing, she was the first female police officer Shay had met, and for another, Wing genuinely cared about Shay.
Wing and school counselor Anna Coyne became surrogate mothers to the teenager. The two women threw Shay a graduation party and even helped her move into the dorm at Indiana University. Over time, Wing visited during the university’s family weekends, and Shay joined the Wings for holidays.
“It’s clear that she’s an amazing person that just has a light about her that lights up a room when she walks in,” said Matt Wing, a sergeant with the Brownsburg Police Department, who has three biological children with his wife. “She’s hard not to love, really.”
About a year ago, while talking on the phone, Wing made an offhand comment to Shay: “We should have just adopted you.” Eventually, Shay worked up the courage to text Wing. “Can you think about adopting me one day?” she wrote, knowing she wouldn’t be able to ask the question out loud. “I really want a mom.”
Wing replied, “You know I would in a heartbeat.” Wing asked her family what they thought about the adoption, and her children said it was “about time.” An attorney cautioned against the adoption, so they got a new attorney. “She’s ours and we’re hers. And we wanted that to become official,” Wing said. Shay Roberson became Shay Roberson-Wing on April 20.
“For this family, to accept me as their daughter and sister literally fills my heart. Never thought the police officer at my school would become my mom. Never thought I would be adopted at 24,” Shay wrote on Facebook. “Forever thankful for the Wing Family and their ability to help me trust and love again without putting my wall up!”
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