Foster Kid Phoenix

Foster Care sucks & I survived.


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the brighter side of foster care (&personal updates)

Hello, hello! Wow, I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post on here. I don’t suppose that’s a terrible thing, though. I had a particularly busy and fascinating Winter Quarter (straight A’s again, high five!) and have been involved with several projects. I’ve been making art, crafting, reading and spending time with friends. I’ve also been planning a very big, exciting and intense change with my partner – we’re moving! He is going to a university, and I am itching to set my feet down on some new soil.

This is so exciting, because I am living in the same metro area that I was born, same area my mother was born, same county my case was first opened at.. the same county I emancipated in and began my adult journey in.

But, it’s time. I am ready for this change. I think back to all the times I was moved to unfamiliar locales by a social worker. Then, as a young adult, all the times I ached to get away from my hometown but wasn’t ready to leave the life I had painstakingly built for myself. It is now time, and I couldn’t be more proud of myself and those who helped me get to this point.

Reflecting on my life so far,  I can’t help but feel fortunate. Even though I have had my share of darkness and despair, things have seemed to turn out for the better. I have written a fair bit on the painful side of growing up in foster care – now, for a change of pace, here are some reasons I am grateful for this experience.

starbul2I don’t know where I would be if I wasn’t taken out of my home. I don’t know if I would be alive right now. I also don’t know who I would be. My experiences have shaped me, and for better or for worse, I love who I am today.

STARBUL1I have met so many amazing and inspiring people. This obviously includes the tribe of former fosters that I consider my family, but also the allies who wore their hearts on their sleeves, the staff who trusted me, the social workers who believe in me.

starbul2I can go to school! I know several people who have not been in foster care, who can not afford to go to school. Some of these people even have families who are doing well enough to stay off the streets, but can not pay for their children’s education. I strongly believe that education is a right and that every single person on this planet should be able to receive an affordable education, but sadly that is not how this country is run. I am so grateful for my ability to attend classes and I know that being in foster care made this possible.

STARBUL1Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I have health care until I’m 26! Even if I was never in foster care, certain illnesses run in my family. And since I was in foster care, I have that PTSD beast to take care of. I am fortunate to live in a state that took the Medicaid extension. Health care is another basic human right that sadly, not everybody gets to enjoy. Thanks to my status as a former foster youth, I have access to health care.

starbul2The most important value to me is my ability to empathize/sympathize with people. I have a strong emotional connection with the suffering of others, probably because I have known suffering myself. And I am certainly aware that there are so many who suffered worse than me, and those who continue to. This drives my actions. I aim to be someone who others can find comfort in, and strive to help make the world a kinder place, however I can.

This is an inconclusive list, but it is good to keep in mind. As my dear friend pointed out this weekend, “You never realize how much foster care affects your live until you’re in your 20’s, trying to make it on your own.” This experience, I feel, never totally leaves us. We probably will never heal completely. But I want to remember that anything can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you view it.

Peace,
Phoenix


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sign on to your life

It’s nearly 1 am — I should have been asleep an hour ago, but C and I stayed up talking for a long time. We were talking about our (broken) families, sharing both happy and sad memories with each other. Sometimes it feels weird to get so deep with a person – “I didn’t mean to turn this into therapy” – but it’s starting to feel more natural. We heal when we open up, and we’ve both had deep dark secrets and parts of our minds that we don’t dare venture into. I’m certainly not ready to open the floodgates, but the more we know about each other, the closer I feel.

I’m not afraid of him hurting me with any information I give him.. which is huge. Maybe part of that is my growth, but really he’s an exceptionally kind, patient man. He’s been hurt badly too, so we get each other.

We were just about to go to sleep when we heard a LOUD SCARY GUNSHOT. It was super close to our apartment complex — which is rare. We live in a notoriously seedy town, but we live in the nicest part of it. (It’s still a dilapidated ghetto, but it’s not as bad as it is over the freeway!)

And I can’t help but be really sad. There are so many young children and sweet families in my complex. Do the mothers live in fear? What do the children think of the violence? They must know about it.. you can’t stay blissfully ignorant/innocent for long when you’re poor and live in the hood.

But the families keep living their lives. There are always children playing on the stairs, around the building. Almost all the doorsteps have plants in front of them. I think sometimes, the less you have, the more you appreciate the little things. If you live in a dangerous neighborhood, you can either stay indoors all the time and live in fear of getting shot, or you can surround yourself with laughter and music and green plants. You’re going to die either way. You can hide from death for years, and you’ll still die, you’ll have nothing to show for it.

Whatever I’ve been hiding from off and on for years — a fear of messng up, a fear of trusting the wrong person, a fear of dying on the streets, of an overdose, or laying in a coma for years like my bio-mom.. those fears could stop me from living, but they won’t stop me from dying.

Anything can happen when you take that leap.

And so, I took the leap. I’m starting to feel settled into my new home.. feeling more and more comfortable living with C. Baby steps. I’ve never had peace, tranquility, company, and love so close to my heart. The more I let go of my fear, the more I realize, I’ve nothing to fear.

I’ve never had a blog like this before.. I’m excited though, because I rant everyone’s ear off around me and now I have a place where I’m actually expected to rant. I’m not sure if anyone will read this, or if my entries suck, but I’m enjoying this so it doesn’t matter. In case anyone does happen to stumble upon this blog, I’m going to give a little into to me and what I hope will become of this blog.

1) I can be awkward. I can be outspoken and loud and sweet and soft and polite. I can do all these things, and many more, because I am a human being and therefore don’t fit into boxes.  I’m a real person, so please remember that while reading and commenting.

2) I’m in my early twenties, and I’m a girl, a lady, and a woman. I still feel like a kid sometimes. Other times I feel like I’m fifty. I’m a brand new community college student — I just finished my first semester, and I STILL HAVEN’T GOTTEN MY GRADES YET!!! YAHRG! I attempted college a few times, but I’ve been too preoccupied getting my life and head in order to focus on school. So, completing a semester and committing to school is a huge milestone for someone who never thought she’d be able to get out of bed and face class on an anxiety day.

3) I was really badly neglected, isolated, and abused until I was 12. When I finally got taken away by CPS, I was really, really damaged goods so I lived in group homes almost exclusively. Group homes are no joke – it’s like jail for kids, doing time for their parent’s crime. My emotional/social growth was totally stunted as a result, and I’ve had quite a rough time figuring out who I am and how to act since I emancipated.

4) I just moved in with my boyfriend. We have a really healthy relationship, which is incredible considering all we’ve been through in our lives. I feel like I’m learning how to be in a family for the first time, which is really powerful and scary and exciting.