"I want to talk about my feelings!" Josiah, age 8 said emphatically, his almond shaped, brown eyes lighting up.
Josiah had just arrived for a shoot for Change A Child's Life, accompanied by his social worker and four other kids in foster care.
"You do?" I asked.
I'd just introduced myself to Josiah to let him know I would be the person interviewing him for the Change a Childs Life films produced by the Children's' Action Network (CAN). These filmed vignettes are designed to help recruit adoptive families for children in foster care. There are more than 400,000 kids in foster care in the United States and more than 20% are in California.
"Yes!" Josiah said. He looked down at his shoes for a minute, as if he too had been caught off guard by his openness.
"What feelings do you want to talk about?" I asked.
"I'm excited and interested!" he said loudly, lifting his little head up. A smile broke across his face, revealing he was still in the process of growing into his teeth.
"I'm excited about making a movie today! I've wanted my whole life to make a movie!"
With that, one doesn't know whether to laugh or cry.
The first thing that stood out about the foster kids who showed up on Saturday is how brilliant they all are.
Sadly, many people have a preconceived idea that these kids are abandoned because something is wrong with them. A common response to meeting children in foster care is, "They are so sweet! How could anyone abandon them?'
The reality is it's not because of anything they've done. The courts don't remove children from their home because the child under performed at school or required extra long walks or a game of basketball in order to blow off the steam all 5-year-olds have. It's because the parents were unfit, not the kids.
"I want to live here!" the three raven-haired sisters, Jazmin 15, Juanita 13, and Rubi 11 squealed in unison.
A soft breeze carried the sweet scent from an orange tree by as their sparkling light-green eyes scanned the gorgeous Craftsman home donated for the day, lighting on the most loved feature of all: a giant tree house.
"Why do you want to be adopted?" I asked the sisters. They all had on pretty dresses purchased for them for the shoot.
"Because we want a family," Juanita, the shyer of the three, came alive at the thought of an adoptive family. "Family means you have somebody that cares about you. Somebody to talk to about your problems." She looked at her two sisters for some kind of reassurance. They nodded in agreement and smiled at their sister's job well done.
To view the films and find out how you can help these children find permanent families go to: http://childrensactionnetwork.org/fosters.htm