HIGHLAND, ILL. - For the Hunter family, it's about time.
Wife and mom Liz Hunter says there's never been a better time than the present.
"I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined that I would be where I am today," she says.
In fact, it's a wonder that she survived her past.
"So mostly during those early years," she told us, "We lived in cars, we lived in abandoned buildings, we kind of just roamed the city."
Born into a family of poverty and abuse, she recalls one night going to an event at the old Arena.
"It was kind of a rare moment of family time which was nice but my mom and dad begin to drink and they were both addicts," she recalls. "And I got swept up in the crowd"
She was only 5, but she'd been left behind before. The little girl decided to try and walk back to the condemned building where her family was living thinking it wasn't too far away.
"It was actually 6 to 7 miles because I ended up at Anheuser-Busch and that's where I got help," Hunter remembers.
It was about that time, as most kids were learning their abc's, she was learning to help her mother break the law.
"She had me on the weekends be her lookout while she robbed houses, "she said matter of factly.
These days she's peeling away those memories by putting them into words.
"It started as a journal for my own personal healing," she said.
Her new book, "Pieces of You", takes the reader on a rocky road. From neglect to seven different foster homes.
"It was hard to read from where I was sitting for sure. Knowing that my wife had gone through that," explains her husband Douglas Hunter.
But on the other side, inspiration.
She not only survived, she thrived.She found her forever home at age 15, became the valedictorian of her high school class and a college graduate.
Now, she's trying to help others do the same.
"She never does anything half way. Liz is 100 percent of everything," says her friend Ashley Childress.
"Her ability to use her words and use her experience to help others understand what too many kids are going through is really extraordinary, added another friend Keely Giles.
Even with two biological kids of her own, this former foster kid decided to become a foster mom and ended up adopting.
"They're America's children. They're not that person's children, they are America's children and who they become affects all of us," Hunter said with passion.
A powerful message from this once powerless little girl.
Liz Hunter, finding strength from her past and making sure there's no time like the present.
"She really is extraordinary," says Giles.
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