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On the cusp of her 18th birthday, Maria Medina, in the kitchen of her foster home, wrestles with decisions about her future and her family.
On the cusp of her 18th birthday, Maria Medina, in the kitchen of her foster home, wrestles with decisions about her future and her family. (Globe Staff Photo / Joanne Rathe)

Maria's choice

A two-part Globe series
Part 1
Almost 18 -- and feeling old
DEDHAM -- When foster children like Maria Medina turn 18, the government is no longer obligated to care for them. In a decision that none of her friends has to make, Maria can ask the state to provide support past her 18th birthday, but only if she accepts strict conditions. She could also decide it's time to try life on her own. (Boston Globe)
Part 2
Teenage dreams, adult decisions
CHELSEA -- Sitting on her canopy bed in her foster home, Maria Medina stole some moments to herself before a weekend of 'round-the-clock babysitting for her sister's two children. Her sister Aida, 19, had been scrambling to find a place in a homeless shelter. Maria also was worried about her younger sister, who is 16 and on the run again. (Boston Globe)
Maria's story in photos
Photo Gallery Wrestling with her future
In school, in her foster home, with her family, and with her boyfriend, the questions about her future hang over Maria's head.
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