October Face of a Foster Care Graduate - Jacqueline M.
I entered foster care at the age of 13. I spent 5 years in foster care. In the time I was in foster care I spent 9 months in an institution, 5 months in a group homes, a total of about 2 months in juvenile hall and the rest of my time in various foster homes. I have a hard time calculating the number of homes I was in but my best guess would be about 15-18 different homes with at least 12 of the homes being within a 8 month period. What brought me to foster care was different than most children as I chose to go into foster care because the situation at home though on the outside looked good was unbearable on the inside. My time in foster care was very difficult as I knew I would never be going back home and due to the way the system works out I was not adoptable or eligible for guardianship.
I aged out of foster care at the age of 18 the day after I graduated high school. I was lucky enough to have foster parents who agreed to keep me 10 months after my 18th birthday so that I could graduate high school.
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I am not sure how old I was when I decided that I would not be a person plagued by the unfortunate circumstances I found myself in but instead be empowered by them. I do know however that I have lived the past few years fighting to be a better person. It wasn't until this year however that I finally put my foot down and truly fought back to not be the poor kid who lived through foster care but the adult who changed her life.
I started college in June of 2009, 4 years after I graduated high school. I want to change the world that we live in and for me a big problem is the health of those who cannot afford to fix it. I want to open hospitals for the uninsured that get them the proper attention they need but without the costs they cannot afford. Someday i would like to be a foster parent and help children and teens who are going through what I did.
I had a set of foster parents in particular who never gave up on me even when I gave up on myself. I lived with them for the final 16 months of my foster care experience. They inspired me to want to be a foster parent but also to never give up on myself or anyone else. They loved every child who walked through their doors no matter what the child did and i hope to one day have even half the love they had.
I am not perfectly healed from my experience. I still have nightmares and I still cry from time to time but I never let it affect me past a few moments. I think it is important to let the hurt simply hurt but never to dwell on it. I cannot change what I went through but I can change my attitude about it and I believe that I have. Everyday I am a better person because I have chosen to overcome and chosen to make a change in others just as certain people did for me as a teen.
Jacqueline as a senior in high school. This amazing girl never stopped trying to become a better person despite being plagued by unfortunate circumstances.
If I could give any advice to children in foster care it would be to never give up. Sometimes it seems like you don't have a voice and your opinion doesn't matter and sometimes it seems like you are the one person who can't decide what's right in your life, I know I have been there. I would suggest you speak up even if they still ignore you. Be stern with them on what's important to you. Every time you have a chance to go to court tell your lawyer you want to speak and tell the judge what you want and if they don't listen the first time then do it again. Your voice may seem to fall of deaf ears but eventually someone will hear you and all you need is that one someone who will truly listen.
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Posted in Childrens services Post Date 02/06/2017