By Libby Smith

DENVER (CBS4) – Schylar Baber speaks passionately about adoption. Recently, he gave a presentation at the Adoption Exchange’s Spotlight conference for foster and adoptive parents and professionals.

READ MORE: New Center Offers Recovery Resources For Homeless In Jefferson County

“My message today for these guys was the power of resilience,” Baber told CBS4.

Schylar Baber (credit: CBS)

Baber has proved his resilience after spending 12 years in the foster care system. From the age of 6, Baber lived in 11 different foster homes, 2 group homes, and 2 residential treatment facilities. He aged out of the system with no plan and no support system.

“I was told that I was a bad kid growing up, so why not be exactly what you were told to be” Baber said.

Schylar Baber and John Baber (credit: CBS)

He found a mentor and future father in his 6th grade music teacher, John Baber.

“I would call him sometimes after home-to-home and say, ‘Hey, I’m alive. How are you?’” Baber said.

Schylar Baber (credit: CBS)

After years of believing that he didn’t need anyone and struggling on his own, Baber agreed to be adopted by John. He was 25 years old.

READ MORE: Commerce City Authorities Respond To Homicide That Ends With Shots Fired

“I needed a human connection. I needed friends and I needed family because if you are alone that’s when we let go,” Baber explained.

Now he shares his story. He’s executive director of Voice for Adoption, an organization based in Washington D.C. that advocates for better adoption policies.

Schylar Baber (credit: CBS)

“We fall on our butt. We make mistakes. But I would say non-foster kids are more resilient and bounce. When foster kids fall down, we shatter, we break, we fall through the cracks,” Baber said.

LINK: Voice for Adoption

For the first time in his life, he’s enjoying the family he should have had as a child.

“I’m their family and they accepted me in. And they expect me to be a part of that family which means you have to go to family functions even when you’re uncomfortable, you have to call and say, ‘Hello’ occasionally, and if you miss out on a birthday or a holiday, you better be willing to take the wrath for it,” Baber said.

LINK: A Day For Wednesday’s Child

MORE NEWS: City Of Denver Employees Meet News Of Vaccination Requirement With Mixed Emotions

Libby Smith is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. If you have a story you’d like to tell CBS4 about, call 303-863-TIPS (8477) or visit the News Tips section.