Sometimes, we are fortunate enough to come across a person who is so inspiring they make you want to change the world, even if it’s in the smallest way. I had the opportunity to interview someone who did just that for me. Named Miss Black Kentucky 2012, and Miss Texas U.S. International 2016, Shelby Jenkins has utilized her platform to raise awareness of adoption and gives credit to her own adoption story as the starting point for her passion.
When she was just a few weeks old, Shelby’s biological mother dropped her off at a caregiver’s house. She never returned. The caregiver took Shelby to the food stamp office in Miami, FL, and from there she was sent to the crisis center/foster care system. Because there was no information on her, it was a doctor who gave Shelby the birth date of July 12, based off of blood work and a physical exam.
Fast forward to 18-months-old Shelby being adopted by a couple whom she says has provided an amazing lifestyle for her, which allowed her to “live a normal life.” She traveled the world, was able to join the dance team, participate in competitions, and become the captain of the dance team. Her parents enabled Shelby to be able to attend college, where she received a degree in Public Administration, and they taught her independence.
Being an adoptee, Shelby gives full credit to her parents for her monumental achievements. Without them providing her a “normal” life, she said she would not have become Miss Black Kentucky 2012, or Miss Texas US International 2016. It is because of those platforms she has been given, that she has been able to become an advocate for Adoption Awareness, and been given opportunities to travel to different foster cares and all-girls schools, talking about adoption and why it is such a beautiful thing.
In addition to being able to use the platforms she was given during her multiple reigns, Shelby also received proclamations from Mayor Ronald Jensen in Texas and Mayor Reginald Thomas in Miami, FL., which set aside observation days for kids in foster care and kids who were adopted.
As many adoptees and adoptive families have found, Shelby noticed that many people treat adoption like it’s a disease. She believes that whatever conditions or circumstances a person has or lives with, they should be proud. She receives emails and letters from people who have been inspired by her story, or who share their own adoption testimonies, and she wants to keep encouraging people to be proud of being adopted.
I asked Shelby if there was one point she really wanted to get across through sharing her story, what it would be. She responded, “Adoption takes a lot of patience, but it is so worth it, and if you’re willing to change a life or want to be a part of a life, I would suggest to adopt, because the best is yet to come.”
If you would like to reach out to Shelby, her email address is: Misstexasusintl2016@gmail.com.
Stay tuned for more from Shelby on Adoption.com.