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!
Black Butterfly: The Journey – The Victory
Black Butterfly is a compilation of poetry that speaks to the silence of loss, to the fight for families, and the love for foster children; it speaks wholeness to the fatherless, healing to the broken, and hope when faith and determination are all that remain! This is a young girl’s journey, pre and post, foster care. This journey embodies real-life issues through faith-based reflections; it showcases circumstances that impact social and emotional development through a lens of determination. THIS IS THE JOURNEY – THE VICTORY!
Babygirl: Prequel to Black Butterfly
In 1977, siblings Tina, Michelle, and Leon Hilton live with their mother, Catherine, in Detroit. Although times are tough, Catherine does the best she can with the support of her mother-and in spite of the abuse she receives from her boyfriend, Victor. When eleven-year-old Michelle is accidentally injured, a caseworker from Child Protective Services visits the family. Later, Vic's drug stash is found in their house, and soon the three siblings are taken from their mother, separated, and placed into various foster homes. Over the next several months, Michelle experiences a number of foster homes that lead her to question and challenge the lifestyle and sense of identity that she has experienced so far, significantly affecting her self-esteem, purpose, and well-being. Meanwhile, Catherine works to put her life back together and win back custody of her children. This is the story of a family dealing with physical and emotional abuse, substance addiction, and the foster care system as one girl grows to young adulthood in the face of unusual odds.
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.