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Texas woman officially adopted at 37 after asking to join a family on Thanksgiving

Posted at 2:29 PM, Nov 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-24 18:42:42-05

Stephanie Ellison struggled throughout her childhood.

When the holidays came around, times were not always the best for the 38-year-old.

"There were a lot of Thanksgivings that I didn't have in my 38 years. But again, there's hope — don't give up," said Ellison.

Both her parents struggle with addiction and were abusive.

"I was in and out of foster care, and that being like placements that were kinship placements, and then some like I was in Buckner Children's Home," said Ellison.

By the age of 15, the court granted that she could live on her own. Working three jobs, going to school, and living in a two-bedroom trailer, she wasn't sure where life was going to take her.

"I met this girl named Andy and her family found out I was living on my own. And they said, we want to have you over for dinner," said Ellison.

After that dinner and getting to know the family, they asked if she would come and stay with Bill And Gina McQuatter to have a normal last part of her senior year. She moved in and worked one job and went to school in Burleson, Texas.

While in high school, Kelly Clarkson won American Idol and became a household name. Stephanie's story was told to the Idol winner and Ellison received the Kelly Clarkson scholarship.
"I would like to one day see her in person and just thank her for what she did," said Ellison.

She went to college and started her career in education, and for years struggled with believing this was her forever family. That was until a Thanksgiving just a couple of years ago.

"Sitting at the table and I said, 'Can I call you mom and dad?' And mom just started crying 'yes,' said 'call us mom and dad.'"

Texas woman officially adopted at 37 after asking to join a family on Thanksgiving

As the years went by, Stephanie was keeping a Bucket List. On that last were things like meeting Reba McEntire, being on the Kelly Clarkson show, and getting adopted.

Bill and Gina had a conversation with Stephanie and told her they wanted to make it official and go through the court and adopt her.

In the 18th District Court, barely able to speak, it became final and she was officially adopted.

"I'm thankful that they took a chance on me," Ellison said, "and I'm also thankful that I said yes. Because there was a point in my life when I didn't feel like I was worth it."

Now she has a forever family and a place to spend the holidays.