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Principal Turns Detention into Adoption, Proves School Really is a Family!



Quick Smiles:

  • A Kentucky middle school principal adopts a student who was frequently sent to his office.
  • The student, who had spent her life in and out of foster homes, finds a forever home with the principal and his wife.
  • The once troubled student is now a university student, studying to become a social worker.

Imagine this: You’re a middle school principal in Kentucky, and one day you step out of your office to find a 6th-grade girl sitting by the door. She’s been suspended for launching a cup of yogurt during lunch, but there’s something about her that catches your attention. This is the story of Jason Smith, who found a new family member in an unexpected place.

Smith, a seasoned principal with 14 years under his belt, had seen his fair share of adolescent antics. But when he asked the girl, Raven Whitaker, if she thought her behavior would fly in a restaurant, he was taken aback by her response: she had never been to one.

Raven’s life had been a revolving door of foster homes, with a series of foster parents who couldn’t deliver on their promises. Smith, moved by her story, felt a strong urge to help.

He told Good Morning America, “I recognized that she needed something to go in her favor, maybe for once, that it hadn’t gone in her favor in the past, but she just needed somebody to help her.”

Smith discussed the situation with his wife, Marybeth, who also felt a special connection to Raven. The couple had grappled with infertility and had previously been unable to adopt any of the foster children they had hosted. After talking with Raven’s case worker in 2015, they learned they could foster her. They also had a heart-to-heart with Raven herself.

Opening their home to Raven, the couple was met with skepticism. Raven admitted to GMA that while the welcome was warmer than she had previously experienced, she was unsure if things would be different this time.

“I gave them a bunch of trouble to see what would happen, I kind of tested whether or not this was real or not to see if they would keep me no matter what, because they would tell me that but, you know, I’d heard that a lot before.”


But the Smiths were persistent, and their genuine love and sincerity eventually won Raven over. In October 2017, the trio officially became a family. With a principal for a dad, Raven turned her academic performance around and graduated. Today, she’s a student at the University of Kentucky, studying to be a social worker.

So, next time you’re scrolling through your feed, share this uplifting story of love and openness. You never know who might need a little reminder that good things can happen when you least expect them!