Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Courage of an Orphan

What does the word foster means to a person? One may think of caring, support or providing care towards another. Then there are those who think of abuse, violence, discourage and trouble. Are there those who take the time to find the true meaning? Foster (verb)-Help develop, help grow; "nurture his talents" 2. Bring up under fosterage; of children 3. Providing or receiving nurture or parental care though not related by blood or legal ties. There is no true meaning to the word foster care. There is a true meaning to those who experience being in foster care and to those who provide the shelter to the unfortunate. When one chooses to listen to those who have the knowledge of foster care being a part of their life, they are then given an opportunity to see and understanding the emotions of how a child in such a position is forced to deal with prejudice, abusive relations and broken dreams that can result to overcoming the downfall of their childhood. The level of neglect and abuse is ranged differ upon the dependence of the background of the child. One might assume that all those who are placed in such circumstances are automatically being punished based on bad behavior but are ignorant to the fact that there are those who are placed in foster care due to the loss of a parent or their family members are unable to provide for their care any longer.
I lost both parents by the age 7 years old due to HIV. My mother was a committed full time nurse while taking care of four kids. Things between my father and her worsen throughout the years. Their relationship on love became blinded by violence. My father then created a secret life of affairs with other women. He formed into a womanizer and was never there for his stepchildren nor his biological daughters. He was later then was diagnosed with the disease of HIV but refused to let my mother know. The disease was then transferred in to my mother’s blood stream causing her to become ill. Doctors lacked knowledge of the disease during the early 1990’s and assumed she had cancer rather then AIDS. They decided to treat her with Keemo therapy but it worsted her health. She then decided she would avoid medication and let the Lord and Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit decide her fate. Her death came upon us drastically in the following year.
My father became ill due to the HIV overwhelming his body. He was in and out of the hospital and never was there to see how my grandmother acted. He was blinded by abuela’s sweetness when he was around. After awhile my father finally caught on to my grandmother’s play games and decided to move my sister and me with my mother’s sister who lived in Medford. It was a new environment. I didn’t realize who she was due to the fact that my father never spoke of those in my mother’s family. My father and my mother’s family never related to each other. They spoke of harsh words about another. My mother’s family blamed my father for mommy’s death. Daddy knew it was his time to go and would be happier to leave my sister and me with my aunt rather then my abuela.
During the next years, my father came to visit us during the weekends. He would take us shopping. One day Daddy and my Tio (uncle) took us to the corner store and I asked Daddy if he could get me a doll but he told me that he didn’t have the money today and we could come back for another time. I acted like a selfish little bitch and cried and told him that he was the worst father ever. I told him that I hated. The look on my father’s face was a face that I would never forget. His eyes reflected pain and misery. He told me that it was okay and he still loved me with all his heart and spirit and hug me like he didn’t want to let me go. That was the last time I ever saw my father.
After my father’s death, I was being neglected by the only family I thought I had left in my life. I had to make life choices based on what I would like to accomplish later in life as well as in the present. I had to see how the present would reflect in the future. I always knew what I wanted in life and I would never let anyone tell me other wise. Being in foster care people would think of me as “lower class”. To me I viewed it as my chance to go to college. Being in care, it allowed me to have a “free” education. Choosing to entering Salem State would be a step closer to proving me to others and to my self. Most of all it would make my parents smile while looking at me from the heavens above.

The next years were hard living with out Daddy. My aunt became abusive with my sister and me. She was bitter and told my sister and I that we were not our mother’s children, we were our father’s children. She would make my sister do chores and yell at us. I couldn’t find any explanation to why she had so much hatred toward us. What did Daddy do so bad to make her take her anger out on us? Was I good enough to love as a daughter? What was the matter with me? Why weren’t Daddy and Mommy here to love me? Why all the other children had a Mommy and Daddy and not me? All these questions were never answered.
When my sister turned 16 she decided to move with my uncle for a year in New Hampshire I was then abandoned there to live with my aunt. Her behaviors worsen with the emotional abuse. I decided to live with my long time best friend, Donielle. Her mother loved me like her own. My aunt became upset and decided to call DSS. The court would not let me stay with them. I was forced into the system of the government. I was terrified. I didn’t know what to expect. I was now going to live with complete strangers.
The first time I met my first foster mom, I was nervous but happy. She lived in Malden with her two daughters. I was going to finally have a mommy in my life. I was over whelmed with joy. I met new friends and started a new life. I still kept in contact with Donielle and her mother. I continued to live with her for the next two and half years. We developed a strong bond between each other. She became more then a mother to me but my best friend. I thought it was too good to be true. So I started to rebel. In my mind I knew that this family wasn’t my own and sooner or later they would abandon me or reject me like everyone else in my life has. So I decided to leave.
My social worker then decided to move me to another foster home with a younger woman but free spirited, generous person that I ever met in my life. I was now 17. My life changed drastically during the years. I have lost so much but at the same, gained more then others. I didn’t have parents but I had a good support system. My social worker became like an older sister to me. We had an emotional, loving relationship like no other relationship between a client and a social worker. I love her dearly. Franchesca, my other social worker, helped me with schooling and finically.
There are those who discover their true talents once they believe that they can achieve their goals in life. Everything I have been through came from the Lord above. He was challenging my strength and courage. He made me wiser and stronger so I will be able to beat any other challenges that are thrown in my way. Yes I have flaws and find difficulties in accomplishing certain task that others may do better than me but I found other things I have accomplished. I survived four years of foster care and I have thrive through the loss of my parents and I’ve achieved through school with Honors and College Prep classes and I’m not pregnant and I’m working two jobs. These are things that not even some 40 year olds can handle. I put my mind, spirit and energy into everything that I do and will not allow any one come in between my path of achieving my goals of going to school.
Throughout the years, I had lost and found new people that had their influenced on me. Some had stronger impact on me then others did. Each I shared moments of fighting, laughter and dreams. Now I work at a day care with a co-worker, Kristin, who I love and cherish. I love each child that I work with and hope to become a child-psychologist. I have two best friends Judith and Shayra who gave me advice and courage to pull through each day with a smile on my face. Shayra’s Dad, Robert (I nicknamed Papados- second Dad) became my only father figure in my life. I was able to speak to him about anything. I have reconnected with my sister and brothers and love them with all my might. I am now a senior at Malden High School and have big dreams. I want to make my parents happy and be proud to call me their daughter.
There are a variety of people in this world who are struggling to find their identity and their purpose to their being on earth. My self confidence and self- esteem are being challenged through the success of my accomplishments and down falls of life. Yes I have faced losing my parents and being in foster care and losing family members but I have gained so much more. My future has become my present. My present has become my past. My past has become a part of me. The beautiful and the ugly of the world have taught me life lessons of trusting and finding the true me. I have reconnected with my biological family and developed a special bond between each member. I love them endlessly. I have found new friends that have become a part of my family and I will always treasure their memories. I’m gathering images all of my life and storing them away without forgetting them. I continue to send myself back to open the memories and seeing what they have to offer me. It’s a display of a collection of my elements. Coming to a point where I reconnect hoping to remind myself of the person
So what does the word foster mean? It has a variety of meanings. It’s a symbol to reflect that it’s only up to me to decide my destiny. No one can decide to live for me and I can’t live for any one else.

1 comment:

ashley S5 said...

I choosened to post this personal writng based on its reflection of my life and where i have came from. I have faced a lot of struggles and critisim of people doubting my abilities of making it in life and being successful.By the way that picture is a picture of my niece.