When Adriana was four years old, she was placed in foster care. Within eight months, she had already been juggled between three different homes, and the experience left her feeling scared and confused. She was finally adopted by her forever family when she was five years old, and now seven years later, this budding equestrian is setting out to help children just like her.
It all started when Adriana's adopted mom, Jane, told her a bedtime story shortly after the adoption was finalized. Even then, Adriana loved horses. They had celebrated the girl's adoption by donating 100 stuffed ponies to children still in foster care, and Jane thought a story about a pony would resonate with Adriana the most.
Adriana was still feeling hurt and confused because of all her mixed-up emotions, so Jane thought of a story involving a magical pony to help the little horse lover cope. The story was about a little girl who was sad because she was missing someone she loved. One night, the girl's favorite stuffed pony came to life and turned into a beautiful rainbow pony. The pony shared a special message with the girl and helped her sort out her mixed-up feelings.
Jane thought up the story in the moment, but afterward, she couldn't get it out of her head.
"I remember I walked out of her room and told my husband that this should be a book that goes with the ponies she gives to kids in foster care. "
Jane started talking about her idea at the elementary school where she worked, and she learned a co-worker's husband had always wanted to illustrate a children's book. From there, Jane fine-tuned the story and worked with the illustrator to bring the book to life. Adriana was seven years old by the time the book entitled "My Forever Friendship Pony" was finished and printed.
They started slow, because Jane wanted to make sure Adriana was ready to share her life's story publicly. They donated a few books and ponies to local foster children, and Jane continued talking with Adriana about her feelings and how they could help other children like her.
When Adriana was 12 years old, she decided she was ready. They introduced the book to a local foster care agency, and everyone loved it. The agency said they wanted to give out the books and stuffed ponies to as many children as they could, and a generous volunteer donated the money to pay for the books. That was the moment Adriana realized how much good she could do by sharing her bedtime story with others.
"When I was in foster care, I was lonely, angry, and scared and wanted someone to hug, so I'm hoping the pony will do the same for other kids."
Adriana and her family decided to set up a GoFundMe so they could donate as many books and as many ponies as possible. They collect the ponies through donations and toy drives put on by local schools. So far, they've donated hundreds of books and ponies to foster children in their area.
Each pony is different and comes with a tag that says, ""A forever friend to hold close to your heart whenever you need a special hug."
Adriana hopes to continue donating and helping foster kids learn to process their emotions. She wants her ponies to provide comfort and reassurance to all the children going through what she did. She's also working on helping children in foster care receive equine-assisted therapy. She said,
Horse Courses by Elaine Heney
- Listening to the Horse - The Documentary by Elaine Heney & Grey Pony Films
- Shoulder In & Out Training for better balance, bend & topline development with your horse
- Over 110+ Polework Exercises & Challenges to Download
- Dancing at Liberty & Creating Connection with Your Horse (11 lessons) - Grey Pony Films
"I know that horses have helped me a lot, and I just want to help other kids feel that way, too."
You can help Adriana on her mission to help others by donating to her GoFundMe.
All images via GoFundMe