She gave up on finding a forever home — until she found her dads.

With tears collecting in her eyes, Lupe Ortiz-Tovar explained why she always felt different from the other kids.

Lupe went into foster care when she was 5 years old and lived in more than 18 homes across multiple states throughout her childhood. She learned not to get her hopes up thinking the next family would be her last.

"I think you remember the honeymoon phase of going into a family, but it’s never yours," she explained in a video by the Human Rights Campaign. "It’s really like you’re a visitor in someone else’s home and you don’t know how long that's going to last."

GIF via Human Rights Campaign.


Lupe's experience being shuffled around the foster care system is one that's shared by far too many children. A point-in-time survey found more than 420,000 kids were in foster care in the U.S. in September 2015 — up from 2011, when it stood at just over 397,000.

While there are various reasons why kids are placed into care and many children are in the system only temporarily, thousands share Lupe's story. She transferred from home to home until she aged out of the system.

Finding a real home to call her own just wasn't meant to be.

GIF via Human Rights Campaign.

Or so she thought.

In 2005, two terrific guys came into Lupe's life.

"Little did I know that I would meet Clay and Bryan," Lupe said. "And my dads would find me."

GIF via Human Rights Campaign.

Lupe met Clay and Bryan, a same-gender couple, while completing a summer internship with Foster Club, a nonprofit aimed at helping kids in foster care.

In the decade after that, Clay and Bryan became close mentors to Lupe, she says over email. And finally, in 2015 — after Clay and Bryan's marriage could be legally recognized — the couple adopted Lupe in Oklahoma when she was in her early 30s.

"There is no such thing as too late to find your forever families," Lupe said. "There are no term limits on the love that families can provide each other!"

"We all added something to each other's lives," Lupe said in the video by HRC. "It was like a puzzle that was just waiting — we were all waiting for each other."

GIF via Human Rights Campaign.

The Human Rights Campaign is using Lupe's story to illustrate how crucial it is to allow LGBTQ couples to have the ability to adopt.

"Kids shouldn't have to wait to find their forever families because of discrimination," HRC states in the video.

And discrimination is very much on the table as Oklahoma Senate Bill 1140 hangs in the balance. The bill would allow certain faith-based child welfare agencies to deny adoption opportunities to kids in need based on the potential guardians' sexual orientations or gender identities.

HRC, which is strongly against the legislation, is urging Oklahomans to text "FAMILY" to 30644 or call 405-521-2711 to connect with a state House representative to demand the bill be defeated.

It's not just about ensuring equality for queer couples, the organization argues. Having the option also allows many children in need — like Lupe had been — to find loving parents.

"I've never had or thought about what a great father is — I've never had that picture in my life," Lupe says in the video below. "And so [Clay and Bryan] have really completed many empty pictures and have given me lots to dream about and hope for in my own life."

Watch Lupe's story by the Human Rights Campaign, an Upworthy Handpicked video:

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

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It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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