There was a time when I was young in foster care when I switched from different homes, group homes, and foster homes and all I had were two trash bags and a teddy bear. I clearly remember laying on a bed and wishing it was mine forever. I remember be counted as homeless and sent to live in a shelter with grown boys 45mins away from my home city. I was 11 years old. I remember I went a half a winter without a coat. I had a sweatshirt until my aunt gave me a coat. I cried. To this day I don’t think she knows how grateful I am for that coat.
I remember waiting for my mom to visit and she never showed up. I remember late nights when my grandma would hold me and tell me it’s okay, grandma is here. I remember crying because my mother either didn’t show up or was late for court dates, family sessions- you name it.
I know what it’s like to have family members call you a liar, being bullied by cousins and feeling alone. I remember writing in my diary hoping to find the perfect parents so my twin and I could live together one more time. I wrote list of people I prayed that God would tell them to be my foster mom or dad.
I remember living in group homes and getting only weekend visits with my grandma and aunts. I know what it’s like to only have enough clothes for the week, using toilet paper as a maxi pad, one tooth brush, switching social workers every day, trying to comb my “thick” hair, spending my 13th birthday in a psych ward, I tried to kill myself because I felt so alone, granted visits twice a month with my twin, hardly seeing my family, my teddy bear became that home for me. I remember being sexually abused by the age of 6, and tortured by my twin. I know what it’s like to see your mom get beat have her life threatened. I know what it’s like to have a gun pointed to your head and forced to give a stranger oral sex and I know what it’s like to be poor and having only Kool-Aid and spaghetti to eat for dinner.
The last true hug I received from my mom, I was in first grade and she honestly said that I love you.
This is the first thanksgiving where I have a job, apartment, my same teddy bear, attend college, a computer and a family I created over the years; I have more than three coats, I have clothes that I bought with my own money, my family and I are connected and trying to reach out to one another. I’m thankful for my journey and my continue success.
It’s the little things that makes me happy. I didn’t get to see my twin this holiday, but I know he feels my love and my energy.