A plea for acceptance: LGBTQ foster kids attempt to overcome discrimination

Vritti Echo family photo

In honor of Columbus' 38th annual Pride Week, Vritti Echo and her mom, Beth are making a public plea.

"I know the LGBT homeless rate is really high. A lot of people lose their families because of who they are," Vritti explained.

Vritti grew up in various group homes and foster care. It wasn't until she turned 15 that she found a family to welcome her with open arms.

"Moving all over the place and being with different people and different families all the time and different places — I kinda didn't feel stable," she said.

Beth Jones, who has fostered about 12 kids, instantly felt a connection to Vritti. "She was supposed to be here," Beth said.

"They called me about Vritti and explained her situation, and what she was going through and that she needed a home where she was going to be able to be who she was, and to feel safe to find out who she was."

Vritti has felt at home ever since. She now has parents, brothers and a sister. "This is a place where a lot of emotional healing happened and I learned a lot about myself and I feel most comfortable here. Here with my mom, my dad and my siblings," Vritti said.

Beth and Vritti are now encouraging more people to become foster parents, especially to kids in the LGBTQ community.

According to a recent study by Children's Rights, more than 30% of children in foster care identify as LGBTQ or transgendered. Many of them experience discrimination and have trouble finding a home while in the system.

"Kids need someone who is stable and has some love to give," Beth said. "And I've found that's really it."

Vritti says she wants more foster parents and families to be open-minded when taking in a foster kid.

"As long as you are dedicated to it and it's something you truly care about — you should just like go with it!," said Vritti.