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Colorado teen places ad on Craigslist, wants to rent family for her birthday

Posted at 6:42 PM, May 28, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-29 22:00:42-04

A 19-year-old Colorado teen is turning to Craigslist for an unusual, and heartfelt request.

Natalie Carson said she grew up in foster care and was never adopted. She posted an ad on Craigslist in hopes of finding a family to spend time with her on her birthday.

It's a request that may seem so simple, but Carson says it will help make a usually difficult day, special.

"It's something that I've never really had. Of course, I've had birthdays, but they haven't been good," she said. "Usually every birthday is really painful and hard."

Carson said she was a baby when she was first placed in foster care in Colorado. She was quickly adopted and moved with her adoptive family to Georgia.

"They were abusing me and so I got placed back into foster care when I was 12," Carson said.

At 18, she aged out of the system. On her own for the first time, Carson took a bus back to Colorado.

"I really didn't know anything, but I knew I was born here," she said.

7NEWS looked further into this cycle and found that last year in Colorado, more than 200 teens aged out of foster care, according to the Department of Human Services.

"There's something more, you know, than just me because there's a million more of me," Carson said.

Experts tell 7NEWS it's not unusual for birthdays, graduations, and holidays to be difficult for youth without families.

Carson said she found support at Urban Peak, a Denver shelter that helps young people experiencing homelessness.

She was able to get her GED and is now working and attending college with a focus on computer science.

As for the heartfelt ad on Craigslist, Carson said she didn't think anyone would answer -- but turns out several people have already reached out to her.

"It felt good I was happy, and I've been talking to one family in particular," she said.

Carson has hope that she'll finally have the birthday she's always wanted.

"I felt like having one day where it's OK --  this is about me and it's my birthday," Carson said. "I don't have this big elaborate plan or anything, I just wanted it to be good."

On Friday, Natalie said she's grateful for an outpouring of support but overwhelmed by a flood of emails as her story has received international news coverage. She's talking with people who have offered to help make her birthday special. Now she's asking others who want to help to instead support other foster care children or organizations that aid foster kids.