Living a life you feel isn’t yours is one of the strangest feelings. One minute you’re a happy little kid and the next you’re in a strange home with people you have only just met and they are calling you their foster child. For someone who had never been in foster care before I was completely terrified. I was no longer surrounded with my loving family, but I was surrounded by someone else’s.
I remember the first thing my foster mom asked me was if I needed any clothes. I was a developing pre-teen at the time and I really didn’t have time to think of everything I would need when I was packing my things. We went to Pamida, a store that isn’t around these days. She held my hand as we walked through the aisles. I think she was trying to make me feel safe. To be honest I was still not ready to leave my home town and go to a whole new place. I remember getting some pajamas and a toothbrush but don’t really remember much else.
As soon as we got to the next town over, which is where my foster family lived, my foster mom told me that we had a birthday party to go to. I was never really great with being in a crowd of people I didn’t know. There were a ton of questions going through my mind. Would there be other kids there? Would they be nice to me? Did anyone know about me or what had happened to me? My questions were answered for the most part when we pulled up into the driveway of a house. There were tons of kids in the back yard and a BBQ happening. I remember the first person to come up and say hello to me was my foster sisters husband. He had come from England and I always loved listening to him talk because of his accent. He was my favorite person to be around the entire time I was in foster care.
The next few weeks were us trying to get in a routine. I had to take a taxi service back and forth to school back in my town every day. They didn’t want to move me schools because they weren’t sure how long I would be staying. Every morning I would wake up and get dressed 2 hours before school would start, usually around 5:45. I would get dressed and wait for the taxi van to show up. I remember always liking the purple/maroon color of all of their vans. My drivers were all so nice. I was always a little bummed because I wasn’t allowed to sit in the front seat. The law stated that you have to be 12 years old to be able to sit up there. I had a month to go before I was going to turn 12.
On my 12th birthday I was told I could stay the night with my Aunt and Uncle. The two people who would sacrifice so many things to be my parents. I packed so many things. I never went anywhere without The glass figurine my brother had gotten me. That was the first think I packed to go visit them. That morning when my favorite taxi driver picked me up he got out of the van, opened the front seat door for me and told me happy birthday. As a kid something like that absolutely makes your day. I will never forget the kindness the drivers gave me for the two months they had to drive me back and forth the 30 miles.
I went home from school that day with my Aunt and got to spend the weekend with her and my uncle. I dreaded going back to the foster home. Not because it was a bad place to be, but because it wasn’t home. I reluctantly went back not knowing that two weeks later I would be in the custody of my Aunt and Uncle permanently.
When I got back to my foster home, my favorite thing to do was raid the cookie jar for those iced oatmeal cookies. I would go down in the basement and eat them and watch t.v. I isolated myself more than anything while I was in foster care. It was hard being away from my mom and knowing there was a chance I wouldn’t ever live with her again. I am so thankful that I had such a loving foster home, but it is hard to be in a home with a family who had a whole life before you and be able to feel like you belong there.
The day they told me I was going to be with my Aunt and Uncle my entire life changed. I packed up a box of all of my things and my foster mom was to send it to my new home. I packed everything I loved in that box including that little Dalmatian. I never sot that box after that day. It still breaks my heart that I no longer have it. It meant everything to me, especially since I hadn’t seen my brother since I was 8. We were incredible close when we were younger.
I was barely 12 years old when I got placed with my adoptive family on a foster basis. There were still many court dates, treatments, and visitations with my birth mom. I never knew how much went into being a foster child and struggling to come to terms with the fact that I was never going to be in my moms custody again. I’m ready to tell the rest of my story, but be warned that it isn’t going top be easy to read.