GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A place to call home and a family, that's what thousands of kids statewide are still hopeful for. As FOX 17 continues its Forever Home series, we introduce you to one young lady wishing to be adopted.
It's been almost three years since Mariah, 16, says she starting living in a group foster home, but her hope, curiosity or kindness were never broken. Tuesday she shared her exclusive behind-the-scenes visit at the John Ball Zoo with us.
First a bit skeptical then all in, Mariah was giggling as she tossed fish to feed pelicans.
"That was amazing!" she said.
Mariah became one of the zookeepers for the day and was a natural. She helped train Slide the otter asking, "How big is the male compared to the female?"
Tuesday she showed off her curiosity and her love for animals, even the slimiest.
"That's gross!" Mariah said laughing, touching a leather sea star.
A high school freshman, Mariah says she wants to become a zookeeper or a vet technician.
"I love animals," said Mariah. "Make sure they're well taken care of with love and caring and kindness."
How she hopes to care for animals is what she hopes for with her forever family.
"It doesn’t really matter if there’s two parents or one, I would love to have younger and older siblings," said Mariah. "I would want at least one pet, because if I’m upset animals calm me down right away."
And just like her eagerness to learn inside the zoo, Mariah is an ace in the classroom.
"I’m the leader in class," she said. "I keep everyone on track."
"I remind them that there’s an assignment due at the end of class, or if we need to talk about something I would pretty much start it and everyone else would just jump in and help me out."
A leader in and out of school, Mariah knows just how she'd feel to be adopted.
"Lovely, actually," said Mariah.
If you want to learn more about Mariah, or the adoption process, please call her adoption agency Orchards Children's Services at: 1-(855)-694-7301.
FOX 17 would like to give a special thank you to the John Ball Zoo and staff for such an exciting filming session!