Every so often you hear of a person who was or is in foster care. Your brain starts rushing in with all these questions and statements such as, “What is foster care? That poor girl” and, “I’m so sorry to hear that”. At least in my case, that’s what it felt like. You meet new people and say goodbye a lot. You start a new life with a new family at a new school with new “foster” sisters/brothers. You meet the new family and every so often the aunt or uncle that comes around will make a statement such as “Oh you got a new kid”. That always left me puzzled. The intros, the getting to know one another and the learning of the new house rules always left me feeling like i’d never settle. I would tell myself not to get used to this person, or not to get close to the mom because eventually they always change their minds, or I would do something to make them not want me anymore, thus causing for them to rid of me as if I were last weeks news article. From foster home to group home to shelter, to running away. You name it, I’ve been there. I moved a lot, and never quite understood what family ever meant. I was so confused growing up. I questioned my worth a lot, and looked for love in people who never actually cared.
I was so under the clouds that I wanted to be even more under. To say that I was confused is now an understatement. I was not confused. I wanted to die. In fact, I tried more than once, and no one was ever aware of it. I’d find a bottle of whatever I could find and down the entire thing. My Foster parents would think that I had the flu. If they knew the truth behind the curtains, they most likely would have passed me on to the next family.
There’s a saying that I often heard while growing up. Something like,” There must be a storm before the calm”. Looking back at my past choices, I’ve come to realize how true this is. My storm wasn’t just being in foster care, it was a battle against myself. I had let my thoughts, and everything I had been through determine my mindset. It was so bad that I was committed into a mental institution for a few weeks. however, I don’t think that was my wake up call. I think the wake up call was realizing that with time, I was going to be okay.
I often get asked how I managed to beat the odds of those statistics that are out there. It was simple, I no longer wanted to be a statistic. While growing up I wished to be able to read about others journey through the Foster care system and never found anything. Now that I’m old enough to tell my story , I would like to show other people that they aren’t alone. What they are going through shouldn’t be a factor in what has led them down the wrong alley, but rather the reason they should thrive and strive in life. You’re only given one life. After all, how will you use it?
My childhood was ripped from the hands of my own, but I refuse to let the past define who I am today. Foster care taught me how to survive, but from now on, I’m the one who is in charge of my own destiny in this thing we call life.