This year’s Mrs. Universe is a young woman who declared, “Glory be to God forever and ever. Amen,” when she won the coveted title. While it was wonderful to see Victoria Petersen giving praise to God, her pro-life stance and personal experience in the foster care system will no doubt also inspire her fans.
At 15 years of age, Petersen had to make a choice that would shape her life forever. She’d been in foster care since the age of 12, and many people in her situation had become pregnant or gone down the road of substance abuse.
Petersen, however, decided to put her energies into her school work and impressive performances on the track. “I got really good grades, and I was dedicated to academics and athletics. I wanted to learn more, and knew if I was athletic I couldn’t get involved in substances. I had seen how drugs and alcohol negatively affected families. The use of drugs and alcohol became adverse when I thought about having my own family,” she explained in an interview reported in Live Action.
It was through her faith and help from her coach, Scott Wichman, that Petersen was kept, quite literally, on the right track. She won medals at the Ohio state track championship four times and when she finally aged out of the foster care system, Wichman welcomed her into his own family and gave her his last name.
Thanks to this incredible support and love, Petersen went on to form her own family. She married her husband Scott and became a mom and a foster mom.
Thanks to her own experiences, Petersen, as the new Mrs. Universe, has spoken openly about her life in the foster care system, and how abortion should not be the solution for pregnant moms whose children risk entering the foster care system. In fact, she asks pro-lifers to lend much-needed support to the foster care system, as their desire to help the unborn should manifest in offering love and guidance to vulnerable children in need.
“If we genuinely love we must undoubtedly choose life, not just in our marches and at pregnancy centers but in our backyards, in our homes, and in our foster care system,” she pointed out.
Now in her role as Mrs. Universe, the pro-lifer wants to show the importance of choosing life with the backing of her sponsor, America’s Kids Belong, an organization that helps kids find families before they age out of the system.
“[She] shares openly about her traumatic journey through foster care into adulthood. We are thrilled she is using her strength and conviction to fulfill her platform and strong voice in the Foster Care world. Children in foster care have an ally in her and we celebrate her beauty, soul, kindness and drive to make our world a better place for children in foster care!” shared the group on their Facebook page.
The crowning of Petersen is just another positive step for the mom. She’s already been speaking out in support of the foster care system and the pro-life cause, sharing her own moving experiences with a video for Students for Life:
My mom always said when she saw me with my hands resting beneath my head as a baby on the ultrasound, she knew she loved me and would give birth to me. To say that growing up in the foster care system was adverse seems like an understatement. But my mom heroically and bravely chose not to eliminate the potential sufferer — me — and because of her choices, I am now a woman who spends her time passionately advocating to eliminate the suffering of those in the womb and in foster care.
This is just a snippet of Petersen’s positive message, if you’d like to hear more, click on the video below:
Along with her role of Mrs. Universe and mom, Petersen has also founded Bring Beloved, whose “mission is to proclaim and affirm each foster youth’s identity as a beloved child of God” and offers practical support to foster kids and their community.