I was removed from my father and placed in a foster home for the first time at age 4. After he did what was required from the county I was returned to his care. I was removed again from my father when I was 9 and placed in my second foster home. I really loved my first and second foster homes and have very fond memories of them.
In my third foster home I was placed in an environment I knew all too well. I experienced both verbal and physical abuse from the foster mother and teens in the home. School, counseling and running away were my only escape. While I was living in this home my father’s rights were terminated due to my lack of willingness to have any contact with him.
After this home I struggled with forming a strong connection with the many families I was placed with throughout my childhood. I was fortunate enough to live with some foster families who truly cared about me and loved me unconditionally.
I saw the struggles many of them had with being foster parents. I lived with foster families who were new to providing foster care and who where experienced with doing it for years; who did it for the right reasons and for the wrong; who had supportive agencies and others who didn’t. I moved all over Placer County as well as lived in Nevada City, Merced and multiple places in Sacramento and Iowa.
Besides living in foster homes I also experienced a hospitalization, informal probation, living in a group home and the shelter. Permanency was something I struggled with yet craved to have.
As an adult, my struggles with this continued. As a young adult, fresh out of the system, I was struggling with homelessness, positive relationships and substance use that I developed at a young age to mask my reality. I knew in my heart this wasn’t the life I wanted to live but didn’t know how to live a different one.
I now have a large family of foster brothers and sisters, foster parents, friends as well as extended and immediate biological family. I am a proud mother and for the first time know what it feels like to truly have the family I’ve always wanted.
My social worker stuck by my side from age 11 on and I had other people in my life, like friends, foster parents, community members, agency and county workers that went out of their way to be there for me. Some even when I would constantly push them away. Although they couldn’t tell at the time, this made a big difference to me and my ability to overcome my challenges.
If I had one thing I would want everyone to walk away with from me sharing my story it would be “Don’t ever give up on our kids, even when it looks like there is no hope for them”
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