Have you ever heard of the saying, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you?” Well, this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you find yourself in an abusive situation or any situation that violates your personal space, seek shelter and assistance. As a former foster child, I wish I had known help existed. What you don’t know, CAN hurt you! If you live in the United States, there are 24 hour shelters, counselors, free food, medical assistance, and more. If you live in a country outside of the United States, contact your local law enforcement agency or human services department. Your life has value and you have rights! Don’t spend one more day giving anyone power to take something that doesn’t belong to them. Take your life back! Embrace hope and peace of mind!
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As a former foster child, there were numerous obstacles faced on my journey towards positive change. At the age of four, I was placed into 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, void of faith and hope. 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, resulted in withdrawal.
Addressing the heart of the matter as it pertains to emotional and social development, I became as the caterpillar, trapped within the cocoon. As a former foster child, 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 this little girl and tells her, she’s going to be okay?
These are a just a few of the questions that are oftentimes unanswered as the voice of the child becomes lost among the political process within governing bodies. As a former foster child, it is my belief that the overall plan for emotional health should incorporate empowerment to control social and emotional factors that affect lives. Having first-hand experience in this missing component within my own life leads me to this conclusion.
Black Butterfly Books LLC speaks to overcoming obstacles along life’s journey. Its primary purpose is to mentor youth and network with organizations that work to support them from a place of wholeness, embracing completeness that can only be found through self-love, faith, positive reinforcement, and personal fulfillment.
I am thankful to have had a foster mother that encouraged this completeness. Today, I give back by encouraging others to fulfill their purpose and empower their dreams; for we are no longer caterpillars trapped within a cocoon. We are butterflies.