Editor’s Note: Girls in foster care are twice as likely than their peers not in the system to become pregnant. Coupled with negative environmental factors, a lack of support and resources, a significant economic burden, and social stigma, young mothers in foster care.
TRIGGER WARNING: The following contains content that may be harmful or traumatizing to some readers.
So, I was pregnant, with a job but living in a foster home with no tools, and with no support system aside from my foster family. I tried reaching out to my biological mom to tell her she was going to be a grandmother. She told me not to count on her and hung up. So, then there was that added to my pregnancy stress. I found a place to move to with my baby and the father of my baby. With the emergency Section 8 voucher I was granted (which was the only good thing that happened to me, housing-wise), I was able to secure a place. Two bedrooms for my little family.
I had finally found the perfect bank to invest all the love I had to give in my newborn baby boy, who was born one month after my 18th birthday. I knew that he would love me forever and never hurt me. That I would love and care for him like I would have liked my family to have taken care of me.
My happiness did not last. My partner soon became violent towards me, and he began using drugs. Things began to look bad for me and my son, but then again, violence is what I was used to. I was used to men failing me and not having a woman role model to show me what a woman needs to be treated like. What I learned was that love came painfully and that if a man treats you bad, it’s because he loves you.
I was always labeled a bad kid. I grew up with that image of myself as the black sheep of the family. The broken one! I had a history of drug use and plenty of people who never let me forget how I ruined my family for reporting what happened to me.
Being a girl in foster care really broke me. I can tell you, home life wasn’t that bad compared to how life was in foster care. I felt more alone, scared, angry, and hurt than I ever felt in my life. Never having consistency. Never having someone to show me they cared after basically ripping me away from my world. And still people pointed their finger at me, making me feel guilty for all of what had happened.
If I could go back in time and tell you what hurt me the most, I would say it was people labeling me a bad kid for something that was not my fault. I was not a bad kid. I just needed direction, love, and someone to care about me. Someone to help me feel that I mattered. That I was not just needed to be molested, abused, or a damn babysitter! It was not my job to raise kids at a young age. It was not my job to learn how to be an adult at a young age. It was not my fault that I was robbed of my childhood, and it was not my fault that life and CPS failed me. They took my voice and made me feel like I had to never speak about anything again. And in not hearing my voice, I lost myself.
Thank God for the few people that really made a difference in my life and that throughout all of those uncertain times, they managed to stick it out with me and be my voice. So, I can tell you that whether its former or current kids in foster care, we are not bad kids, we are the kids that adults failed to protect and do right by.