Craiglist is many people’s go-to when it comes to buying and selling furniture, finding an apartment to rent, or looking for a job. But 19-year-old foster teen Natalie Carson used Craigslist in a whole new way last month when she posted an ad to “rent” a family to celebrate her birthday with.
To truly appreciate this story, you have to understand Natalie’s history. She was in the foster care system ever since she was an infant. She was never adopted, and ended up aging out of the foster care system at the age of 18. As you can imagine, with such a roller coaster ride, Natalie felt she had never truly gotten to celebrate her birthday like most people do – surrounded by family.
Natalie decided that she wanted this birthday to be different. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she took matters into her own hands and turned to the Internet. The Colorado teen posted an ad on Craigslist entitled “Young Female College Student Looking to ‘rent’ family for birthday”. One particularly touching part of her ad read, “I just want one day that I can feel important and special, and like I matter even if I really don’t. I have never had a good birthday so I figure why not this birthday.”
Natalie never could have imagined the amazing response she received from her Craigslist ad. Many people have reached out to encourage her, and she stated that she has been corresponding with “one family in particular”. She is helping those that have responded to her ad get involved with supporting both children in foster care and related organizations.
So what did Natalie plan for her big day? As she told The Denver Channel, she wanted to keep it pretty simple: “I felt like having one day where it’s OK – this is about me and it’s my birthday. I don’t have this big elaborate plan or anything, I just wanted it to be good.”
Natalie we wish you the happiest of birthdays. You deserve it!
3 Things We Can Learn From Natalie
- It is better to take matters into your own hands than to feel sorry for yourself.
After the life she had lived so far, no one would have blamed Natalie for feeling sorry for herself. Instead of having a victim mentality, Natalie took action. Reaching out for help takes a lot of courage, and Natalie was willing to take that step.
- Sometimes having a little faith really pays off.
If Natalie told her friends about her idea for a Craigslist ad to rent a family, chances are they probably told her it was a little crazy. I’m sure Natalie had doubts about it herself. Even though she knew, it might not work out, she was willing to take the risk. Thankfully, this time it paid off.
- When we get attention, it’s best to use it for a greater cause.
Perhaps the most beautiful thing about this story is that when Natalie received an overwhelming response from her ad, she thought about more than just herself. She recognized an opportunity to help foster children and teens by raising awareness and support for them.
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