Jayra is proud that she was born into a vibrant Hispanic community in Northern Virginia, and she continues to celebrate her Bolivian heritage with her family.
Placed in foster care with her younger sister when Jayra was 13, the girls were adopted together in 2019 when Jayra was 16 and her sister was 11.
This past June, Jayra graduated from Dominion High School and the Monroe Advanced Technical Academy, where she studied cosmetology. She is currently a full-time college student majoring in criminal justice and minoring in Spanish.
Jayra joined her adoptive home with a terrific sense of humor and plenty of optimism. Still, adjusting to a new culture, unfamiliar community, and traditional public school was not always easy. However, she quickly learned to lean on her support systems, and because of her creativity, persistence, and strong self-advocacy, Jayra had an incredible senior year of high school. She played rec soccer, got her driver’s license, made the honor roll for the first time, and was awarded “Outstanding Student in Cosmetology.” Jayra earned an official Seal of Biliteracy in English and Spanish on her high school transcript, and she is working toward earning her license to practice cosmetology in Virginia. Jayra is also a proud blood donor, and she has enjoyed volunteering with her grandparents to deliver “Meals on Wheels.”
This past year she also won second place in a local high school student essay contest for her essay, “My Losses Led Me Home”. This was Jayra’s first time sharing part of her adoption story publicly.
In this essay, she notes, “Over the last eighteen years I have learned that not everything in life goes the way we expect it to, but I have also learned that even if we feel like life is falling apart, we should not give up on ourselves or our futures.”
She hopes to find ways to continue to share her story so that others who have experienced childhood loss and trauma know that they are not alone in their journey.