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Friends as close as sisters


How Juniors Jasmine Smiley and Crystal Linn become foster sisters

It was a bright sunny day in 2008; the sun warmed the incoming third grade players making their way to their first day of softball practice. Eight-year-olds Jasmine Smiley and Crystal Linn met and became friends through Green Play- a travelball group– and bonded through team get-to-togethers. Now juniors in High School, the girls played for PRHS with a bond as strong as a metal cord that had formed over the course of 8 years. The bond would strengthen even more in April 15, 2016 when the girls became foster sisters.
Linn had entered the foster system in 2016 due to complications with her mother’s ex boyfriend. Linn’s mother had to file a restraining order against her ex because she feared for herself. The ex was not to contact Linn’s mother or the family, and Linn’s mother wasn’t to contact him either. Later, Linn’s mother felt the need to contact her ex because she still had feelings for him; when Social Services found out, they sent Linn with her little brother, Linn, into foster care. Linn’s brother went to live with a close family friend and Linn went to live with the Smiley family.
Linn found sanctuary with her best friend, saving her from a home that could have been a foster home with strangers. Twenty seven percent of foster homes are living in poverty according a study in 2013 by National Kids Count. Linn didn’t have to take the chance of being put into one of those homes. Smiley’s parents agreed to let Linn stay with their family, which strengthened their bond that had been solid for years.
“My parents trust her and have known her for years, so it didn’t take much to convince them to let her live with us,” said Smiley.
Before Smiley’s family took Linn in, the girls first bonded when they joined Velocity Travel ball in 2008, where their friendship began. They continued to grow closer as they played on Aftershock, Nitro and Varsity softball at PRHS. Through 13 seasons, 65 tournaments, and playing over 260 games, their softball careers are as intertwined as did their home bond.

The girls pose low to the ground for a serious photo.

“I know if I was ever in a situation where I couldn’t be with my family anymore, I knew that Linn would take me in,” Smiley said. The girls have been very close friends for years so it didn’t take much to convince Smiley’s parents to let Linn move in. When Smiley found out that Linn would have to enter the foster system, she ran up to her mother with salty tears racing down her face. Almost hyperventilating, Smiley started to plead with her mother to let Linn stay with them, but Smiley’s mother agreed almost immediately. Her mother talked on the phone to her father about the situation and Smiley called Linn to tell her of the great news.
After six months of child care classes, the Smiley parents officially took guardianship of Linn and became foster parents.
Linn was exultant for the Smileys to take guardianship of her, but moving in with a new family had a few minor issues.
The girls have faced little challenges here and there when it came to living with one another, but there hasn’t been anything they couldn’t get around.
“For the first couple of months, it was rough. I think it was a bit awkward living with a new family,” said Linn. “You have to learn about everyone’s personalities.” The biggest problem; however, ended up being the shower. There is only one bathroom in the house, so learning when to take a shower or use bathroom was a learning experience. The family had to figure out when someone took a shower and try to work around it.
It’s not the first thing the girls had to work around. Smiley recalled one when they were ten.
In the fifth grade, the two girls had been hanging out with each other for two weeks straight. On a summer night at the Mid State Fair, they lost track of Linn’s cousin, Senior Gabe Linn around 11 p.m. They searched frantically, but he had taken off to Taco Bell without their knowledge.
“We thought he got kidnapped,” Jasmine said as Linn giggled a bit.
“The whole sharing part was super hard,” said Smiley, who shares a room with Linn. On the weekends, Smiley tends to wake up at eight a.m., while Linn will sleep until one p.m. Most nights, Linn will stay up late into the night studying and doing homework, sometimes Smiley will offer to help, but most times Linn will work on it herself.
“I’m honestly not a morning person at all,” Smiley said. Smiley will either be quiet or tell Linn when she is she’s mad.

The girls peek out from a tree by the tables.

“With a normal friendship, you see mostly the good, but when you’re living together, you see the good, the bad, the worst. You get pretty much everything. There’s no escape from it, you got to deal with it.”
“You learn a lot about the other person too,” Linn chimed in. “I know when she’s about to get angry and when to give her space. You also learn a lot about their habits.”
The girls confessed they have arguments and defense mechanisms: When Smiley is mad she often gives Linn the silent treatment, while Linn will leave. The girls never stay mad at each other for long, they said. They have only ever gone two days without talking to each other. A mere Instagram tag is enough to reunite them during thin times.
“When we are mad at each other, we usually look at each other,” Smiley said, giving her sister a look. “And then we’ll laugh and watch T.V. together.” The girls giggled slightly.
“Umm…” Smiley pondered on what her life would be like without Linn. “I don’t know because I grew up with her.”
In late January, Smiley woke up crying from a nightmare, in which Linn moved out from the Smiley household to live with another friend. Linn found humor in the matter, but to Smiley, it was too horrifying to laugh about because the thought of not having her there to lean on was just too depressing to think about.
Through thick and thin, Linn has felt like she can “lean on” Smiley, who shares the same feeling. They’ve helped each other through so much.
Even though the two girls agree that living with your best friend has its ups and downs, life without the other would be worse. The two girls aren’t just best friends; they’re sisters.




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