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No Place to Call Home

narrative by RR alumna, age 22; photo of RR residents, 2017

I was put into foster care at the age of 5 because I had abusive parents and they chose drugs and partying over their kids. My mom would leave us home alone and we were not even above the age of five. My dad would beat the shit out of us and my mom was very violent and crazy with all of us. At the age of 5 I remember this clear as day. A lady came to talk to us at school. She offered to buy food and she was very nice, so me and my sister went with her. We told the lady all about our home life and that day she gave us a backpack full of stuff and we went to our first foster home.

All I wanted was to go home but they didn't let me and I didn't know why. My first foster home was weird. I didn't know anything other than being beaten and starved, but they fed us good and loved us and never left us home alone. I had supervised visits with my mom and I remember crying everyday to go home. And seeing her and watching her leave only made me feel worse. I loved my mom.

I was thrown around a lot of different homes. It was a hit or miss, either they were abusive just like home or they were very controlling and made me feel weird. My mom lost her rights so CPS was trying to get me adopted out. I was returned many times because in my mind, my only place I could call home was with my mom.

I became a teenager and was out of control. I would fight and steal and treat foster parents who loved me like crap. Due to my behavior I was bounced around. I started to pick up charges and run away. Then I started to do drugs for fun and then I got addicted. I felt off, I lost myself, and I hated my life. I looked at foster care as me serving time. I knew when I was 18 I would age out and I wouldn't have to deal with them anymore. So I didn't care. I finally turned 18 and they aged me out and I got on housing. I was so excited to be free but I was scared. All I knew was foster homes and juvinial hall.

If I could tell anybody anything about foster care, I would say when people love you let them love you and stay away from the streets. Don't try to fill your voids with drugs and men and other stuff. Use the tools that are provided to you because you can help yourself. You can always overcome and cope with trauma with the right people and support and coping tools. ALSO foster care does not make you less of a person; to me it makes you stronger

Youth involved in the child welfare system are particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking. Pimps and traffickers prey on their desire for acceptance, love, and stability. Research consistently shows that up to 85% of victims of child sex trafficking in the United States have spent time in the foster care system. At Resilience Rising, 100% of our youth had child welfare involvement. "Whether in the US or around the world, children growing up without families are the most vulnerable beings on the planet" (Medefind, 2018).

It takes a village to raise a child. Consider becoming a part of our village to help support these vulnerable youth and young adults. Monthly sponsorship starts at just $5. Sponsor a youth here.

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