When Staci Freeman and her sister Jami Valentine first took in a child ravaged by war in Afghanistan last year, Arefa was a 6-year-old in Hello Kitty shoes, who quickly turned the daily routine of changing her head bandages into a counting game.
When Arefa arrived in Los Angeles from central Afghanistan, three years after being injured, Freeman says, third-degree burns mapped her body, and her head was an open bleeding wound.
"When she came, she came crying and in pain and her head hurt," Freeman says.
Claudia Felder lives in Chino, Calif., with her parents. It's a wholesome scene: nice house, three dogs and a parrot and happy family pictures everywhere.
You'd have no idea that the composed, cheerful, articulate young woman got off to a rough start in life.
Felder spent much of her childhood in foster care, starting when she was 3 years old. She's 21 now, and has been living happily with her adoptive family. But memories of an abusive past still haunt her.
Forty-five states have adopted the Common Core State Standards, the first-ever national academic standards for students. But opposition is growing, and some lawmakers are having second thoughts about their states' support.
Meanwhile, proponents of the standards are still struggling to explain the initiative to parents, many of whom say they've never even heard of Common Core.
Every year, the trade magazine Drinks International puts out a list of the top-selling alcohols in the world, and in the category of spirits, there is one brand that more than doubles the sales of its closest competitor every year. Smirnoff, Jack Daniel's and Bacardi don't even come close.
In a city with 6,500 miles of blacktop, one stretch of road might be the most legendary in Los Angeles: the Sunset Strip. It's where the vibrant L.A. music got its vibe; imagine The Doors blaring through the gates of one club and The Byrds softly strumming just a few doors down. From one decade to the next, from folk to metal to hip-hop, iconic music was born there.