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YV Media interview with TikTok Stars & Advocates The McLeod Family

Photographer: Ashly Nicole @ashlynicolephoto Makeup: Erik Torppe @theglamjew Hair: Bijan Kazemzadeh @paleopaque Eeka’s Fashion: Rebdolls @rebdolls // Michele Marie PR @michelemariepr Evan’s Fashion: Joyfolie @joyfolie // Michele Marie PR @michelemariepr

Can you speak on your journey on becoming a foster mother? What inspired you to begin parenting while in graduate school, a time when most people want to lessen their responsibilities?

I met a couple of friends who were sisters when I was about 13 or 14-years-old. Their parents were foster parents and I used to love going to their house and spending the night. I always knew I would adopt children even from a very young age. When other little girls were playing pregnancy, I was playing wagon trail. Along the “trail,” I would find orphaned children and adopt them as my own. So, when I met The Marchu Family and saw what it was like to foster from a very personal perspective, I knew I would do this when I grew up.

I began fostering in graduate school because I felt called. It sounds a little crazy, but it's the truth. I was in school full-time which meant I was home and could essentially create my own schedule. This made having little ones in the house much easier than if I had been working full time out of the home.

We hear the term “Proud Single Mother” often but what does that mean to you?

I prefer the term single parent because I am both mom and dad to my kids. I am proud to be a single parent because I truly believe I am showing my children (through example) that if you want something bad enough, you have the ability to make it happen. I wanted to be a mom and I chose to make that happen rather than wait around for a partner.

Living in a judgmental world, what led to your decision to showcase your unique family on social media? Was there any fear or hesitation?

I was encouraged by a friend who kept telling me the world needed to see a diverse family like ours. I honestly didn’t think anyone would be interested in a family of misfits, as I lovingly refer to us because we represent so many various marginalized communities. I’m still shocked people follow us. I’m a strong personality so I don’t let fear rule my life much. I just went for it and it’s been an incredible and humbling experience.

Your fans absolutely adore your family! 116 million likes and 2.4 million followers on TikTok, over 100,000 followers on Instagram, as well as over 2.6 million views and over 50,000 subscribers on YouTube. How has your social media presence changed your family’s lives?

Other than ensuring I create content daily, being on social media hasn’t changed our lives much. It has provided me with the opportunity to work from home so I can be here for my children. I am beyond grateful for that. Our content is mostly organic, meaning I film our lives and us just having fun and then edit it together to create a story about something that we experienced. My kids don’t have to do anything but be themselves, and I love being able to look back as I create each piece of content and re-live the happiness of that moment.

We know is it important for your family to utilize their platform to advocate for acceptance for all. In what ways do you reach this goal?

By being open and honest about who we are, how we live, and what it’s like to be us. I have to maintain some boundaries so I don’t show everything, but I do my best to show a very real side of us because we are a very real family with unique challenges and struggles.

Eli has Cerebral Palsy while Evan and Ella are on the Autism Spectrum. How do you wake up each day prepared to face the challenges of being a single mother to children with unique abilities?

Honestly, I take each day as it comes and roll with the punches. Raising three disabled children as a single parent is probably the hardest thing I will ever do in my life. I cry a lot. I struggle with the fact that I can’t fix everything for my children. Watching them suffer or struggle breaks my heart and I often feel like I’m failing every single day. But each day I decide to fail up. I learn from every experience and try to do better for my kids. My goal is to raise them to grow and go. I want my kids to experience life to the fullest. I hope they will travel, meet new people, try new foods, fall in love…I want them to make each day count.