After 10 foster homes through the age of 13, Kayla needed a chance. She also needed love and stability.
She found all of it when she became the latest member of the Nuss family. Now two years later, Kayla Nuss is thriving in Florence, one of eleven children, seven of them adopted.
"It brought me to who I am today," said the now 15-year-old.
"That's how I would describe them, just a family, a real family," she said.
"She's made us much better people, and that's the truth," laughed Kim Nuss, Kayla's adopted mother.
Kim says her family purposely tries to adopt teenagers if they aren’t able to be reunited with their biological parents.
"Because, first of all, they're extremely hard to find homes for," she said. "Basically, you start to 'age out' at age 10 or 11."
And the Nuss’ have been very successful with their mission so far. They've adopted seven children so far and say they could adopt more.
"At the end of the day, we're trying to stop the cycle. Once the children are in your home, you fall in love with them."
Unfortunately, there are still children in our area that are in need of loving homes.
"We've done 551 adoptions over the last five years," said Jill Bradley, Child, Youth and Family Services manager for the El Paso County Department of Human Services.
The process to adopt is rigorous. But there's no prototype, not if the family is willing to go all-in.
"Families, single parents, married parents, couples; living in an apartment, living in a house, rural, city -- that really doesn't matter. It's that commitment, that desire," said Bradley.
For Kayla, her new family’s devotion has been unparalleled and eye-opening. The stability is now allowing her to explore a love for theater and volleyball.
"And I just never would have had those opportunities that I have now to get to know myself and get to know what I want to do or want to be when I grow up," said Kayla.
Kayla also joins all her siblings in helping run the family business, Selah Mountain Thrift Store, in downtown Florence.
"What comes back is amazing. You watch these kids transform. You watch them get better. You watch them have a hope for a future," said Kim.
And if you're thinking about adoption, Kayla has one message: "Do it."
"Everybody thinks it takes saints to do this job," said Kayla. "But really it just takes a loving home."
Selah Mountain Ranch is the name of the family's ministry. Their goal is to help the restoration and healing of foster children, youth and families. All the profit made from their thrift store in Florence goes towards programs for foster kids and families.
There are currently at least 19 children in El Paso County in need of loving, permanent homes. If you’re interested in learning more about the adoption process in our county you can email Adoptions@elpasoco.com