Written by Trina, Former Foster Youth
Trina was born into foster care. As just a baby she was passed back and forth from her biological mother to the system. Her story is not an easy one to hear but it is the reality of many children who have aged out and it needs to be heard.
23 years ago, my mom went in to the hospital with a stomachache and came out with a baby – up to that point, she had no idea she was even pregnant with me for I was conceived out of abuse.
When I was two years old, I almost drowned in a pond near the apartment where my mom and I were living… this is when people knew she was unable to take care of me. From ages two to thirteen, I was in kinship care – passed between family members every six months to a year, some family better than others. I grew up believing that no one wanted me and, at 13, I started experimenting with drugs. That same year, I attempted suicide twice and was hospitalized for two weeks. That is when I was fully placed into the system. From 14 to 18, I was passed through a few different foster homes where I experienced neglect and abuse. It was not until 18 that I found my forever family. They took me in…and adopted me… but one month later and I was being abused again by my now father. Five months of that went by before I chose homelessness over this family.
This is the part of my story that I am just now able to share for fear that no one would believe me. I had experienced so much hurt that I told myself I would never trust again… until I met another family who took me in, adopted me, and gave me their last name.
Again, more abuse… and this one impacted me the most. Three failed adoptions and 16 different families since the age of two – I’ve spent my whole life longing for stability and consistency.
I know this story isn’t easy to hear but it is the reality of so many children who have aged out of the system. Many are not succeeding because of turning to drugs or other things as their source. I have been blessed to have many people in my community that stepped up, took me in, and loved me. It is people like them that change the course of a child’s life – I am 23, have my own apartment, an amazing job, and am currently in school for social work. I now know that there is a purpose for my story and my life.
My advice for people becoming foster parents is to focus on stability. Commit to bringing stability into every situation. Every child is one caring adult away from being a success story and it is time to step out of your comfort zone and step in to a journey worth taking.
Although I wish a family would have committed to me, my story has made me who I am today. My healing is a journey and I trust and believe it will be used for a greater purpose.