Tiffany’s story did not begin easily because she was born addicted to cocaine and due to this, she was given a life expectancy of 2 short weeks. The doctors said that if she did happen to live beyond those 2 weeks, there would be body deformities and intellectual deficiency. She is currently defying those odds by living well past 2 weeks without any disabilities. In fact, she is thriving. This is all because of the gift of adoption. Anyway, back to the beginning, Tiffany’s birth mother lost parental rights to the lack of meeting the criteria while her father gave up those rights when she was born. Eventually, Tiffany was placed in the foster care system at Holy Family Institute. This Catholic safe haven does not do adoptions now, but they did at the time Tiffany was there. I wanted to quickly change the pace and congratulate Tiffany because she is a nominee and recipient of the Holy Family Institute Courage House Award. It is such an honor to be able to call Tiffany my friend because she is the real deal people!
Shortly after, Tiffany’s foster/adoptive/real mom got a call asking if she would be able to take in a little girl. At the time her mom was a working nurse who faced many obstacles. Her lungs were contracted 2/3rds due to air conditioning vents with mold or fungus. Her mom also had severe rheumatoid arthritis. Despite these setbacks, she had a heart of gold and took Tiffany in with love and compassion, providing her with more than she could have ever asked for.
Until Tiffany was 2 and a half, she still had visits with her birth mother to see if they could still reconnect, but her birth mom did not meet the criteria to keep her rights. When her birth mom’s rights were terminated, her foster parents could finally adopt her. On March 20th, 1998 Tiffany was finally adopted, now being able to call her foster parents her adopted and real parents.
When all this was going on, Tiffany did not quite understand the foster care system, but she knew that she was lucky enough to have been taken in as an infant. This is because many children may not ever get adopted since once they hit the age of 8 years old, their chances of finding a forever family decrease immensely. That is in addition to the emancipation age if 18 years old.
Tiffany has three brothers who were all in the foster care system too. One of her brothers lives with a form of Autism, but these disabilities NEVER diminish the love families have for each other. Her brothers all have different last names since Tiffany was the only child who was “officially” adopted. They aren’t in the foster care system now since they were emancipated. Although they are not officially adopted, they are still a big part of the Seitz family.
Since her adoption, Tiffany still was able to keep up with what her birth parents were up to. Unfortunately, in 8th grade her birth mom passed. Also, on her birth mom’s side, she has many siblings but with different fathers. Although, Tiffany is happy with her family now. She says that her parents now have always been her parents and forever will be too.
As I mentioned before, Tiffany is THE MISS PENNSYLVANIA. She will be competing for the title of Miss America THIS DECEMBER ON NBC! Her social impact initiative is Adoption Advocacy- “Restoring Hope, Transforming Lives.” With her platform, she has been able to advocate and share her experiences all across the state and nation. Tiffany mainly advocates for domestic adoptions and has been a volunteer with the “foster love project” which is a part of a foster care retreat. On another note, Foster Care to Success is the process of assisting a teenager who is about to be emancipated, equipping them with skills for the future such as completing college applications and paying taxes. Once they’re emancipated, they might not go to college and go down the wrong path. Tiffany is making a difference in a child’s life and helping the families as well.
There are so many myths that need to be terminated. Considering adoption requires a lot of thought, but making the decision to take the plunge could have a plethora of benefits for the family that chose adoption. Adoption should be mutual because foster children are coming from different backgrounds and these foster families have to be prepared to take on their vigorous histories. It’s not their fault they are in foster care. They still deserve an equal chance at success as any other child would.
Tiffany would love to connect one on one with adopted kids and foster kids, but due to confidentiality she has not yet had the opportunity. Despite this, she is educating thousands of parents about the different processes of adoption. With this, she explains on a daily basis how adoption can give countless opportunities for children. “Adoption may be an unconventional way to start a family, but not an invalid way.” Every child, infant, and teen deserves a family. It’s not unconventional, it is just a unique and diverse way to start a family. Adoption is just as valid of a way to make family as if having your own kid. She has truly been building families throughout her year so far and I cannot wait to see how much more she does this year! So join me in congratulating her once again for ALL THAT SHE DOES and wishing her the best of luck as she embarks on her journey to the Miss America Crown.