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Scarlett learns to trust again

November 24, 2015


Scarlett, 16, hopped on the living room couch with a cookie and a glass of milk. She brushed her hair out of her face and giggled.

“When I first moved into Jack and Christie’s foster home, I was very quiet,” Scarlett said. “I kept to myself and had a horrible temper.”

Scarlett faced abandonment in her biological home. She lived with numerous foster parents and experienced a failed adoption.

“She had a hard time developing positive and trusting relationships,” said Tara Shepherd, Scarlett’s Youth Villages counselor. “She was introverted, self-harming and angry.”

But with Jack and Christie Barton, Scarlett experienced a loyal relationship for the first time.

“She was adopted into an open-minded, nonjudgmental and loving forever family,” Tara said. “After a few months with them, Scarlett blossomed.”

Jack and Christie provide Scarlett with unfailing support. They meet with a physician to maintain a healthy balance of medication. They look for new ways to help increase her confidence.

“Scarlett has an exceptionally good sense of humor and she is witty,” Christie said. “She is fun to be around and we encourage her to be herself.”

Scarlett used to hide behind her long black hair. She wouldn’t speak to anyone unless her hair covered most of her face.

“Every time we spoke, we reminded her that we wanted to see her pretty face,” Christie said. “After a while, she didn’t feel the need to hide anything.”

To learn more about adoption through Youth Villages in Tennessee, visit our website at For information about adopting through foster care no matter where you live, visit

Scarlett’s temper tantrums lasted for days when she entered Jack and Christie’s home. Now, she draws, journals and writes fan fiction to cope with her emotions in a healthy way.

“She’ll always have stability here,” Jack said. “She will attend the same school for more than one year for the first time in her life. She’ll go to prom, graduate and receive her diploma with these classmates.”

Scarlett’s personality shines with Jack and Christie’s encouragement. Their stable home allows her to be confident and comfortable in her own skin.

“My attitude and behavior have improved because Christie and Jack accept me for who I am,” Scarlett said. “They treat me well, they’re honest and I can trust them.”

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