At the age of four, I was placed in foster care. There were four homes in total, yet only the last two, provided positive influence in my life. However, because of former abuse and pain, I began to journal. Initially, harsh realities spilled into my journals. I was so thankful when my biological mother petitioned the court to regain custody of my siblings and I. So, when she passed away when I was only 13 years of age, I was devastated. To make matters worse, I found myself in the foster care system yet again. With consideration to the issues and challenges leading to foster care placement, one thing is for certain, our mother loved us and a mother’s love is irreplaceable.
In retrospect, I can say that each foster home presented a new set of challenges with some traumatic experiences that no child should ever have to face. With this, there were also challenges that didn’t make it any easier. There was the challenge to adapt to new surroundings, to bond with new parents and siblings, to adjust to new school settings, to fit in, have purpose and more.
Undoubtedly, there was frustration, self-doubt, and anxiety and while the foster care system’s primary goal seemed to ensure that financial needs and education were met, the psychological aspect of learning to adjust and overcome trauma, resulted in withdrawal.
I became as the caterpillar, trapped within the cocoon. There was a hunger and thirst for love, a longing to be accepted, and a desire to be understood. Who nourishes the soul, the spirit, and the mind? Who holds the hand of the little girl and tells her, she’s going to be okay?
Black Butterfly speaks to daily realities that foster children or youth-in -crisis may experience. The poetry and prose speaks to the silence and gives voice to the child when voice becomes lost among the political process. As a former foster child, it is my belief that the overall plan for emotional health should incorporate supports that positively influence social and emotional development.
I am thankful to have had a foster mother that encouraged this completeness. Today, I give back by encouraging others to overcome trauma and fulfill their purpose; for we are no longer caterpillars trapped within a cocoon. We are butterflies!