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 After ricocheting through a dozen foster homes over the past six years, including a detour to a Utah home for disturbed girls, Janea's life as a foster child ends today.  Purple hair and tattoos hidden beneath her cap and gown, she beams with pride as she graduates from LA Quinta High School, Class of 2001. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 With her fiery-red dyed hair and skin tight dress Janea gyrates on the dance floor at a graduation party. She is one of the hundred or so of Orange County's newest foster-care graduates. Declared un-adoptable, she spent the last six years of her life in and out of group homes, mental hospitals and lockdown facilities. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 Only a few weeks after Janea has aged out of the foster care system she marries Sam Lopez, also a foster care child.  They skipped the big wedding for the altar in the Orange County Marriage License Office in Santa Ana. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 On her wedding night, Janea took Sam’s name, Lopez, spending a quiet evening watching television.  Sam 19, weighs 300 pounds and loves telling tales of being a triggerman for LA's notorious Main Street Mafia. She has his name, Sammy, tattooed across her chest. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 After Janea's two-week voucher for the Royal Knights Motel in East LA ran out, Dianna Martinez, right, another homeless friend, offers refuge in her room. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 On a hot summer day, homeless and hanging out in the streets, newlyweds Sam and Janea get into a heated argument which quickly turns physical. He runs up to her in the alley, grabs her wrists, and the struggle begins. After he backhands her in the face, she kicks him in the groin. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 The fight continues and Janea pounds on her husband Sam, but he refuses to let go. He falls to his knees crying and begging her to forgive him. The struggle continues as she tries to escape his grip. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 After refusing Sam's plea to quiet down, Janea escapes his grasp and takes off running down the alley. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 Arrested For Domestic Violence-A police squad car soon takes Sam away. He is jailed for 10 days and is fined $300. "I sent him to jail. I called the police and said,'take him to jail,"' said Janea. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 Evicted from the Royal Knights Motel, Dianna and Janea search the classifieds for a place to rent. Their entire net worth amounts to $40 in food stamps. The solution: Pool their next welfare check. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 Bundled in an Army blanket against the cold night air, it's not easy being homeless. "I didn't know what it was like to live on my own. They don't realize most kids are institutionalized. When you live in a group home and you have people take care of you for so long, it's hard, I knew I had to leave when I turned 18, but I was in denial," says Janea. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 Wrapped in sweatshirts and blankets against the cool summer morning, Janea right, and her friends Dianna and Matt Dewey adjust to their new home with amazing ease. Wedged between East LA's municipal court, the freeway and a Sheriff's station, Belvedere Park, located on a few grassy acres, is where they are squatting these days. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 Unemployed and homeless, her husband in jail, life isn't what she thought it would be eight weeks after aging out of Orange County's foster system. Janea uses the squalid restroom at Belvedere Park to dress and wash. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 "I have nothing but the clothes that I own. That's about it, that's all I own is a cart with my clothes in it and like a couple of pictures and that's about it... But what can I do? It's just a big mess, " says Janea. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 Staggering into the sunlight, Sam gets a warm embrace from his wife. "Today is almost as good as my wedding day, " Janea Lopez gushes, "He's out of jail, I don't have to be by myself anymore." ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
Homeless Shelter
 By November, being homeless has become a comfortable routine for Janea and Sam. Boredom is their newest enemy. While the rest of the country is feasting on turkey, Thanksgiving Day, Sam downs a bottle of Cheese Whiz. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 Still homeless, drifting from place to place, Janea waits at a bus stop. "Well, so far this last year I graduated. I've slept in a park. I've been in tons of different shelters. I've been abused. I've been the abuser. I'm pregnant. That's like the scariest thing for me to think about,"says Janea. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 Sam touches his wife's stomach in hopes of feeling the baby's movement. Still homeless and living at the Salvation Army shelter in Santa Ana, they're hoping for county assistance so they can have their own place. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 Janea holds her newborn daughter, Leilani, shortly after giving birth. "I've seen what happens when parents really mess up and their kids end up in foster care group home system. I don't want that for my child. I mean that's like almost damning someone to hell, " says Janea. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 Jesse Equihua, trapped inside the foster care system since he was nine years old,  recently aged out. "I had this little voice in my head right there that says you got to make the biggest leap from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. It's a big old step, the biggest jump for any group home kid," says Jesse. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 Jesse, recently emancipated from the foster care system, moves in to his new apartment made possible through Rising Tide. A transitional housing program with subsidized rent,run by Orangewood Children's Foundation, Rising Tide is a private offshoot of the county social services agency. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 Unemployed and flat broke, Jesse spends nights partying and days sleeping. By August, he's given a two week warning from staff at Rising Tide to get a job or pack his bags. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 After being kicked out of his apartment during day time hours to look for a job, Jesse hangs out with girlfriend, Rebecca, at the end of his street. He was given a two week warning to find a job or lose his transitional housing. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 He finally lands a job at Edwards Theater. Arriving to work in a wrinkled shirt and exhausted from partying the night before,  he starts his 11am shift with a yawn. "Well, I have aplan for my future, I don't want to work at Edwards all my life and work at food places. I'm not saying I'm one hundred percent ready but I've got a plan," says Jesse. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
Busted For Pellet Gun Shooting
 Walking single file, inmates at Theo Lacy Men's Jail enter the mess hall to eat lunch.  "I'm lost and lonely in here man. This is hell," Jesse says, on the verge of tears standing alone against the wall. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 Jesse, depressed and lonely, is on a steady diet of Paxil and Trazodone prescribed by jail doctors. Deputies put him on suicide watch the day he arrived at Orange County Men's Jail in Santa Ana. "I'm lost and lonely in here man. This is hell," Jesse says, on the verge of tears. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 After his release from jail and hanging out with his buddy Josh Wilkinson, also a former foster kid, Jesse spends his hard earned money playing video games at the neighborhood bowling alley.  He's temporarily living with Josh until he can get a place of his own. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 Temporarily renting a room in South County from a friend he met in jail, Jesse spends much of his time alone. Isolated in suburbia without his friends or any means of transportation he entertains himself playing his bass. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 During the graduation festivities at Mariner's church, Monique Luna and daughter Lyla Molina, take a few spins on the dance floor. "I had never been to a prom. That was like my prom. I had my little girl. So it was more than just a graduation. She's my whole family. Everybody that needed to be there was there," says Monique. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 Monique rises before dawn, drops her child, Lyla, at day care and rides several buses across town to attend nursing college. And, most weekends she works a 12-hour shift as a nursing assistant. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 With only a few hundred dollars in the bank, they have no where else to go. "I wanted my own place, so it'd be just me and Lyla," Monique said, "Right now this is all I can do. I know it's a good situation, really, but it's just for a while."  Stepping Stones halfway house for young mothers has helped them from living in poverty and possibly becoming homeless. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 "I worry about Lyla being taken away. Just thinking about that makes me mad and sad and all frustrated at the same time," says Monique. She's been estranged from her mother who abused heroin and doesn't know who her father is. Her daughter is her family. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 A single teen, working mother, Monique at times struggles with her three-year-old. "I can't force her to go to sleep. I can't hold her down and make her do it," Monique says. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 After a long day of working and riding buses all over town, Monique Luna closes her eyes in sheer exhaustion as Lyla plays in the bath. "I leave her in the bathtub a little bit longer so she can play and get more tired so she won't try to fight me. I try to do little tricks so I won't seem as tired as I really am," says Monique. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
All In A Days' Work
 Monique parties with Teresa Luna, left and Diane Lopez, right.  Tequilla and beer are the beverage of choice. They celebrate Teresa's 21st birthday and have a cake fight. "I'm not old enough to drink but I do. That's how we deal with stuff," says Monique. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
 Monique packs up her belongings at Stepping Stones. She is asked to leave after getting in a fight with one of her roommates and not following the house rules. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times
 After Monique's grandmother died, she lived on her own at the age of 15 until someone "ratted her out" and she was taken into custody by child protective services. Still a minor, she and Lyla became wards of the court. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times 
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