The note below was shared on Facebook with the Foster Care Alumni of America Group. It was such an amazing, awesome, heartfelt article that I requested permission to reprint it here on my blog. It expresses so many of the thoughts and heartaches I experienced while in foster care but also shares the positive thought that one can make it no matter the obstacles they may have to over come.
by: Sunday Koffron
Bad stuff happens to good people, it is not fair but it is true. You deserved better than you got. From your original parents, from your workers and from the system, they let you down. That is not your fault. You did not make this mess you are currently sitting in, nope you didn’t. Where you are at is not the wrong place. It is exactly where they dropped you off and left you to your own devices. I would say you are exactly where you would be expected to be. But the truth is if you are not currently incarcerated, homeless, and pregnant by 20, or have lost custody of your own kids, you have already beaten the statistics. Got a job? You are a raging frigging success! I commend you, that is no small feat for folks like us.
Some of us have had it worse than others. Some of us go on to be academically successful; some have great success in their careers. Some of us beat all reasonable expectations by still being alive at 25. What I am saying baby, is that you are ok. I know you don’t believe me now but it is true.
Growing up I was lucky that I had staff and social workers who had come through the system, and they would tell me that I had the power over my own life, that things would get better and that I could do anything I put my mind to. *cough* *choke* *gag* oh yeah, *eye roll* they just didn’t understand what it was like to live in my head. They must not have been as damaged as I was in the first place. They must not have lost as much as I lost. They must not have had to resort to the kind of stuff I did to survive. They just didn’t get what it was like to be me. I just knew they were all wrong about me. I was not like them.
I cut, I drank (I blacked out), I fought, I slept around, I couch surfed for years and I did a lot of really stupid things. I hitch-hiked a crossed this country several time trying to find someplace – any place I belonged. I loved people, hurt people and I made many mistakes. It wasn’t pretty for a while, but I survived, I thrived. …And so will you my sweet, sensitive, wounded little sister (or brother). I can see those eyes rolling now. I know you think I am wrong. I don’t know what it was like to live in your head. I don’t know what it was like to live your life or feel your pain. And I don’t know exactly. But what I do know is that our lives, our pasts, and the amount of pain we have been able to withstand have left us uniquely qualified for survival. You won’t catch me shedding a single tear because the garage door open broke.
There is a lot left here for you to do. You are the voice for our younger foster kin, our little brothers and sisters who are stuck in a broken system, most of whom will find themselves out in the cold and on their own the day they turn 18, just like you and just like me. Your voice can help advocate for them. Your voice can help change that. You have a book to write, a song to sing, a meal to serve, a hand to hold or a billboard to paint. You are crazy strong and foster care gave you a crazy powerful will.
No, you didn’t make that mess, it’s not fair but I know you are capable of cleaning it up. I know you are fully capable of doing anything that you put your mind to. And I know that you have a lot of good left to do in this life. Keep on keeping on, I have high expectations for you.