My world turned upside down in 1998-I recall it vividly, never again being the same. I was born to a single mom in 1992 and lived with one of my older sisters, who was only five years older than me.
My biological mum had boyfriends who were always roughness. My sisters had been taught shoplifting as we were really poor. I remember not knowing when my next meal would come. I ‘d climb to the counter to search into the cupboards to find food in the refrigerator. I ended up eating just a spoon of peanut butter, because that was one of the things we had in the family.
I have DHS news records saying officers made multiple trips to the house because of neglect. As long as I can recall my birth mother was addicted to narcotics. There have been several times she would be pa-ssed out for days in the house or simply not at home for days on end. My sister and I had to fend for ourselves, because we didn’t have anyone else around. Luckily, because she was just a child herself, my sister stepped in and took care of me because I was only a kid at the time.
I recall saying the first year in foster care, ‘This is just my daycare. My mom is coming back for me.’ The other foster kids tried to tell me, just like them, that I was going to stay there for a while, but I didn’t want to listen. At age 6, a year after being admitted to foster care, it was when I realized that no one was coming back for me. Now that was my life.
My biological mom had visits until I was 11. She tried to get us back, but her own children had more precedent in her life than the substance and the men. Even age 6 was when my sister moved to a foster home separate from the one we were in together. Not only was I losing my mom’s chances of coming home, but now my sister too. More than ever, I wanted my dad, because I couldn’t go home to my family.
I remember we would go to bed together when my sister or I would cry at night and we would cry together because we were going through the process of grief together.
I had never thought the pain would go away. As I was separated from my family, I spent many nights crying to sleep as a child.
When a kid I always put my faith in God because I realized early in life that people would fail you and can not trust you. Because I stayed in many foster homes for long periods of time, people have always concluded that they must have been successful conditions. That was definitely not the case. For the 7 years I was there, I was neglected, physically misuse and checked in a foster home.
Meals were taken away as punishment if we behaved and the entire day we were locked out only because my foster mother didn’t want us inside. Because of my foster parents, I witnessed some of my worst situation. He was a teen boy and was still really mad. That was because I didn’t have my foster parents present. He turned me around on the trampoline, retaining just one of my legs and one of my shoulders. He let go of me and I soared through the air, hitting the fence with a force that wiped out the wind. The other example was when my foster brother told me to ‘see something outside.’ I stuck my head out of the sliding glass door to see what he was looking at and he closed the door on me.
Each night I prayed, praying to God to get my family back to me or to send me another. I spent the next seven years in that foster home and was never placed up for adoption because my mother’s rights were never given up. I wasn’t an unwell child, but I slipped through the cracks and was ignored in the program. When I was 11, I decided I wanted a family, and not just a job, that loved me as theirs. I told DHS that I wanted to have my foster family adopted but not. Since that decision, I never saw my maternal mother. I decided I had to take my life into my own hands because I had failed the foster care system. When I was 13, I spent six months staying at a friend’s house.
Those six months were packed with more roughness and so I had to step out. I was sent to a failed homestay adoption at this stage because I was gone.
I lived in this last foster home for eight years, and was never again placed up for adoption because I was found unadoptable. I still did not think I was loved enough to have a child. The rejection has been chasing me for years. Because I had a failed marriage, and because I was a teenager at this time, I could not stop it. I was told, ‘no one wants teenagers who spent their lives in foster care.’
A few more years after I turned 18, I was already in a foster home. Kids usually age out of the program at 18, but I was able to continue on a voluntary basis and get funding for the school. At the age of 21, I went to a college of commerce to become a qualified nanny, hoping I could make a living for myself. I didn’t have a family to depend on to support me, or show me how to be an adult. It was to become a qualified nanny at this college of commerce that I became friends with a girl who would change my life for ever. I began to convey how bad things were for my dad.
I later learned she had told her family what I was going through.
They just took advantage of me. I ended up caring for the other in-house foster kids who were babies and children. Just 4 months after I turned 21 I was thrown out of the foster home.
They avoided being charged by DHS, as well. I wasn’t involved in substance or anything out of control that would normally cause parents to kick out their child. I called my friend at this nanny school, because I didn’t have someone else to talk to. Only my other friends were friends that my foster parents ‘allowed’ me to have, so I didn’t have anything that they didn’t control.’I need a place to stay before I can find out where to go for a few days,’ I told my friend.
Her family consented to take me in. We knew the situations that I was in were not because I was an unruly teenager. One night I had a talk with my friend (now my sister) about being too old to adopt. I started to know I had to look into it and I was reaching out to my old caseworker.
‘We know how important it is for someone to dedicate themselves to remaining in your life,’ my adoptive parents told me.
People still said they weren’t going to left me but finally they did. God answered my prayers that he would give me a family who loved me. In foster care God hasn’t forgotten about me like I felt all those years. Yet my journey was not halted at adoption. I now had to begin the cycle of healing. I went through dark times and moments of joy as I was coping with my past. I’ve had to go backwards and forgive people who physically and mentally hurt me. I had to be honest and follow professional advice from a fully foreigner.
Jesus healed my spirit in ways that were unthinkable. For years I had to go backwards, handling my grief. I am so happy I did so because it has changed my view on who God is. God says he will never left or forsake us, and to this day I sincerely believe. My years in foster care have been teaching me not to take people for granted in our lives. This taught me always to appreciate the simple stuff in life. My perspective on a life in foster care has also taught me trauma and how it physically , emotionally and spiritually affects a person. I want to reassure those who think this is not what God is listening to: He hears you.
Even if you lack the strength to utter a word, He knows your spirit. Your tears matter to him and he will take care of you in every situation.