NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — At just two years old, 16-year-old Ashanti was removed from her parents’ care and placed into Arkansas’ foster care system.
“I’ve been through a lot of abuse… a lot of lying, a lot of not caring,” Ashanti said.
She ended up being reunified with her birth family, but the issues she was originally removed for were never remedied, so in 2014 she was placed back in the state’s care.
Ashanti described living in foster care off and on for the last 14 years as, “really tough. It’s knowing that you’re not by the people that you love and the people you care about.”
It’s this lack of stability, Ashanti said, that’s made it difficult for her to control her anger. “I get angry really easily, I have anger issues,” said Ashanti.
She’s found several ways to express her anger. She loves to color and also plays percussion in her school’s band. “Sometimes when I’m in band it relieves all the anger when I hit things,” she said.
For the last two years Ashanti’s played the minimba, snare and bass drums and other hand instruments. She also sings in her church choir. She’s more than just musically talented, though.
Ashanti enjoys doing people’s nails and plans on making a career out of her passion.” When I started doing nails I found out that I was good at it and I started making my plans.”
Her hope is to go to cosmetology school to get the training she needs, with the goal of opening her own nail salon someday in the future.
Because her parental rights have been terminated, Ashanti is eligible for adoption.
Tiphanie Gurwell, with Project Zero, said Ashanti needs a family that’ll help her with her future milestones, like furthering her education.
“Sometimes people think if I adopt a teenager, like, it’s only going to be temporary but it’s really not. You can walk Ashanti down the aisle, you can help her apply for her first job, you can, at this point help her get her driver’s license and apply for college,” Tiphanie said.
When asked what kind of family she wants, Ashanti said it’s what’s on the inside that counts. “It doesn’t matter what the family looks like, it just matters how the people are to me,” Ashanti said.
Ashanti’s biggest ask is that whoever adopts her has family dinners every night and asks her about her day because, “I’ve always wanted that. I always see it on TV.”