TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - For many years, letters were the only contact Janelle Metz had with her family.
Those words of encouragement and hope, meant survival at age 12.
But those words soon turned into disappointment.
Janelle's mom and dad were in jail for drugs and alcohol and she and her siblings put in foster care for safety.
"I was definitely scared," said Janelle. "I wanted to stay with my sisters. They were the only ones left because my mom was in jail. My dad, I assumed, was in jail. [My parents were] always in and out of jail. They (my sisters) were the only ones I had left. I didn't want to be separated."
Janelle was eventually separated from her sisters and was put in a group home for girls in Greencastle.
That's where she met Debra Hofman, the woman who became Janelle's foster mother.
"Debbie and Tony have done so much for me. I would not be the person I am today without them," said Janelle.
That person she is today is an independent, intelligent woman.
Janelle, now a freshman at Indiana State University, is determined to follow the right path in life and determined to get a degree in social work so she can help other teenagers in need.
"I want to be a case worker because I know teenagers can be difficult because I was one of those difficult teenagers. But there are a lot of kids out there that need help. They really do," said Janelle.
Today, a stuffed rabbit sits on her bed in her dorm room, the only thing she took with her from her childhood home. It's a security blanket of sorts from when she was young, safety from all the bad things and a reminder of how far she's come.
Today she is blessed with two families, thanks to the support and love of foster parents.
There are too many kids in our community who need a loving foster home right now.
As Debra Hofman, Janelle's foster mom, says, "You don't have to be perfect, you just have to care."
If you would like to help, click here.
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