The Forever Family series aims to highlight children across the panhandle who are waiting and hoping to be adopted, but the sad reality is sometimes those children who enter the foster care system will age out. For children in this situation, there are active programs and resources available to set them up for success.
Betty Bajika is a current freshmen student athlete on the Track & Field team at West Texas A&M University. Betty’s life has been anything but predictable. As a young girl, Betty moved to America from Africa but found herself in the Texas foster care system as a teen.
“My whole life changed then,” Bajika said. “It makes me look back now and I am like wow. Life is really different and God is really good.”
Growing up, Bajika was always active and played soccer. It was not until middle school that she learned about cross country. She immediately fell in love and won race after race which got her noticed by many universities.Bajika said she was set to attend a different university until she was recruited by coaches from WT.
Then, she learned about the DFPS Preparation for Adult Living or PAL Program in Region 1 that helps provide skills, resources, and mentors to children who aged out of the foster care system. Bajika said the program and its people have been answered prayers.
“God knew what he was doing when he put me here,” Bajika said. “They have been a great mom and somedays I just need a hug, and they make me feel like a daughter not a case load.”
Bajika has been on the go ever since she stepped foot on the West Texas A&M University campus. The freshman maintains a 4.0 GPA as an engineering student while balancing her responsibilities as a student athlete.
As she navigates school, track, and life, Bajika hopes to be an inspiration to other kids to persevere through challenges they may face in foster care and life. Bajika said she shares her past and life in foster care because she wants people to know everyone faces struggles but has the power to overcome them.
“When you look up to someone and feel like you are nothing compared to them, just know they had to go through their own struggles to get where they are,” Bajika said. “In life you will fall and there will be tribulation, but you can get back up and keep moving forward.”