Pray have prayed
Thank You Father for reaching Tori's heart and for surrounding her with a loving family and advocates. Bless her, and fill her with Your joy. May her life continue to reflect Your glory.

Some of Tori Hope Petersen’s earliest memories involve being trained not to talk to the police.

“When I was just four, I was convinced cops were bad people who only wanted to rip families apart, beat people up for fun, & put people in jail for no reason,” she wrote in an Instagram post last summer…

“While being beaten I begged to be placed in the foster care system,” she wrote. “I was laughed at & told ‘Foster care will be worse than this.’ This was the other lie that kept me silent.”…

Today, more than 20 years later, Tori is no longer quiet. Instead, she is a steady, thoughtful and loving advocate for foster youths…

In July, Tori—the little girl who once suffered immense abuse and struggled her way through the foster care system—was crowned Mrs. Universe 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada…

She reflects on the hardships she faced as a child in the foster care system with both grace and grit, showing mercy to her biological mother and reflecting on both the good and the bad of the system she has spent years fighting.

In one Instagram post, she shared the vivid memory of being abandoned by her own court appointed special advocate (CASA)…

Months later, a new CASA was appointed…

“I know what your last advocate said,” she told Tori.  “But I am not going anywhere…I am here for you. I am here to stay.”..

Tori explained:

I would spend over 4 more years in the foster care system & she spent those 4 years advocating for what was in my best interest. She kept her promise & because of her advocacy I told myself I’d be an advocate like her…She gave me the words to be a voice & a vision to speak up for those who can’t speak up for themselves…

After winning Mrs. Minnesota Universe earlier this summer, she shared some thoughts on the motivation behind her entering pageantry. Along with “enjoying God” in the process, she hoped to elevate the voices of foster youths:

Being Mrs. Minnesota Universe has allowed me another opportunity to inform people of how they can help youth in foster care from the perspective of a former foster youth, foster mom, and advocate! Through this venture, I am NOT going to be a voice for the voiceless. I am going to give the voiceless opportunities to raise their voices! The voiceless have a voice. We just need to listen!

At 25 years old, she is married to her husband, Jacob, and is the mother of two biological children and one adult son the couple adopted. The Petersens are also certified foster parents who welcomed and regretfully said “goodbye” to a sibling group of three this year…

It was Tori’s track coach who became like a father to her when she was in high school.

In the midst of the turbulence that was her adolescence, Scott offered a calm and stable presence for Tori. And he showed strong belief in her abilities…

“Scott’s devotion to me was unwavering and father-like,” she wrote. “I sought out his opinion and guidance, not just as my coach, but as a dad.”

After Tori turned 18 and emancipated, she experienced homelessness, bouncing around from house to house. Eventually, Scott offered Tori a forever home with his family, informing her that his biological daughters had given their heartfelt approval.

“I felt on top of the world,” Tori wrote…

Although the family considered adult adoption, the court and lawyer fees were immense. But Scott and his family offered Tori their last name.

“I was not officially adopted, yet it was just as beautiful as adoption,” she wrote on Instagram, continuing:

Maybe even more beautiful because despite not having court papers, my adoptive family continues to choose me…

This is foster care. This is adoption. This is family. This is redemption. This is breaking generational curses. This is love. And so much more…

Does this inspire you? Share in the comments below!

(Excerpt from Right to Life Indiana. Article by Mike Fichter. Photo Credit: Instagram).

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Judith
October 17, 2021

A beautiful picture of God’s love and redemption. He will do it for anyone! Great words to begin this day. Thank you!

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