WESTMINSTER, Colo. - A 19-year-old Westminster woman who turned to Craigslist to find a family to share her birthday with says she's getting her wish.
One day after Natalie Carson’s story aired on 7NEWS, the teen said Friday night that she’s found a Colorado family to share her birthday with in early June.
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.
The story of the teen’s unusual request quickly went viral with news coverage zooming around the world.
It’s a wish 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 state Department of Human Services.
On Friday, Natalie said she's grateful for the outpouring of public support but also overwhelmed by a flood of emails. She removed the Craigslist ad after she connected with the family and because it had her email address attached to it.
Now she's asking others who wanted to help her to instead support other foster children or organizations that aid foster kids.
"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 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 her birthday wish soon snowballed.
Carson said she now hopes to 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."
6/1 UPDATE: Carson has been overwhelmed since this story was first published and now asks for privacy. She removed her contact information and does not want to be contacted anymore. She thanks everyone for their concern and help.