People see strange ad from girl asking to ‘rent’ a family—but then her real story comes out

September 27, 2017 11:34 am Last Updated: September 28, 2017 9:55 am

Craigslist is full of unusual ads, but when Colorado teen Natalie Carson took to the listing site to make a candid request for her birthday, it went viral.

“I just want one day that I can feel important and special, and like I matter if I really don’t,” she wrote. “I have never had a good birthday so I figure why not this birthday.”

Carson made the request ahead of her 19th birthday on June 10, 2015.

For Carson, who grew up in foster care, birthdays have always been one of the most difficult days of the year for her.

“Of course I’ve had birthdays but they haven’t been good—usually each birthday is really painful. And hard,” Carson told ABC News.

She was placed in foster care as a baby but adopted at a young age. However, her adoptive family turned out to be abusive, and when the abuse came to light she was placed back into foster care.

Every birthday for Carson since then has been a reminder that she has no family and no one to support her or make her feel special, and every birthday was one step closer to aging out of the system and having no one at all.

At age 18, she took a bus back to Colorado, where she knew she was born, even though she didn’t have a plan. She was homeless but found help at a youth shelter, and completed her GED. She went on to take computer science classes at a local college and is working to support herself.

At age 19, Carson hoped she could have one day that was different.

“I felt like having one day where it’s okay—this is about me and it’s my birthday,” Carson said. “I don’t have this big elaborate plan or anything, I just wanted it to be good.”

Carson actually didn’t expect anyone to answer, but instead, she opened the ad later and was flooded with well wishes for her birthday.

“I wish we lived closer and could fulfill your request rent free,” someone from Wyoming posted. “I wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday and I hope that you do well in college and continue to be the strong person you seem to be.”