Growing up I didn’t always have the best luck. I was not dealt a royal flush. I was raised by a single mother along with my five siblings. My mother, on and off of welfare, employed and unemployed, did her best with the help of my grandmother and other family members. Still, when I was a child she meted out emotional, verbal and corporal abuse. I never thought anything of it because all my siblings were going through the same thing — I thought that was the life I was given.
I was sexually abused for the first time at age 4. The drug use of my mother, the molestation by her boyfriend, and worst of all, the betrayal when she didn’t stop it from happening, were devastating. At this young age I didn’t understand, I was scared, and I felt alone. My life began to unravel. The assaults continued nightly. I hoped, wished, prayed that they would stop.
When I was placed into the care of the court, I didn’t even understand what it meant. I later knew that I was in foster care, a ward of the county. I was placed into the home of Tiffany, who later became Mom. I remained in her care for eight years. Hers was my only foster home. Never having to relocate was the best thing I could ask for. While in my biological mother’s care I changed schools and homes at least twice annually. I never had the opportunity to finish a full year with my friends. Moving to a new home or school was the worst. When I was placed with Tiffany I asked her to do her best to keep me in the same school as long as possible. She did.
She is my angel. My mom, a real mom. She is the best at telling me the truth and guiding me the right way. When I tell my mother something she always responds with, “I love you no matter what. I’m going to tell you what I think and you can decide after that.” She is family-oriented, always putting her own goals on hold to help others achieve theirs. She is always there for me. She is also young. Growing up with a mother figure only nine years older meant I couldn’t be sneaky, so I told her just about everything! As I got older we developed a close bond.
When I was 18 my mom explained to me that I was no longer a ward of the court. I didn’t receive aid from the government, I didn’t have medical coverage. But after aging out of the system I remained with my family. My mom, dad and younger siblings continue to be a part of my life even though I am considered an adult. This doesn’t always happen with kids in foster care.
I’m not angry anymore for being placed into the system, because it forced me to be a better, stronger woman. When I went into care I felt alone a lot of the time. I never felt like I belonged to the family that I was part of. I was always afraid that I was going to be sent back to my biological mother. But over the years my foster family took care of me like I was their own, and it became clear that I was theirs forever. I love them.
God didn’t give me society’s view of a good life, but he didn’t give me more than I could handle either. I’ve stood strong in my values, my morals and my faith. I fight for my own happiness. I fight to see the humanity that is left in the world. As a foster kid I had a difficult time trusting others, but who can blame me? After a while I began to open up and let people in my life. I had to stop re-reading a chapter in my book and start writing my next chapter.
Life is what you make it. You survive — even if you’re alone, keep fighting. I promise you one day someone will care. We weren’t dealt the best hand, but if we work hard enough we can earn our own.
Published on May 16, 2015 as part of Children’s Rights’ “Fostering the Future” campaign. The opinions expressed herein are those of the blog author and do not necessarily represent the views of Children’s Rights or its employees. Children’s Rights has not verified the author’s account.