Fun Fact #5 – They take the easy road
A close friend of mine once said, “There are two paths to life – The easy one and the hard one, and more than likely if it’s easy then that probably means it isn’t the right choice.”
It’s something I’ll never forget and probably the most important thing I’ve ever heard someone say. Because it was at that moment, I started making decisions that would change the course of my life. I started doing things differently than my parents had done, differently than everyone I had ever known. I’ve watched so many children make choices because they felt like it was their only option.In fact, Most (Not all) of the kids I grew up within the system lacked the knowledge and parental guidance the be successful in adulthood. They were denied the Simple things that were essentially built in for other kids, love. The kind of love every child deserves.
When I emancipated foster care at 18 and was no longer a ward of the court, I told myself I would leave and never look back, that I was going to be a different person than everyone I had seen growing up in the system.I knew that I didn’t want to be like them, I wanted to make a difference I wanted to be the link that broke the chain. I wanted more than anything to be free and in control of my own life and I thought that leaving that part of myself behind was the answer. The day I walked out of those doors and stepped into the world was one of the most defining days of my life.
When you grow up like I did, When you grow up in the system, you learn at a young age that the only person you can depend on is yourself. You constantly question everything and everyone you’ve ever known, and in order to survive you grow up pretty fast. Trust is seemingly nonexistent and you never truly learn what it feels like to be loved. As a kid in the system, there were always decisions that were being made for me, decisions that I had no control over. I was always told that my voice “didn’t matter” because I was too young to decide what was right for me. At least that’s what the social worker told me when I requested emancipation from the court at 16 and they denied me. At the time, I was furious.
HOW DID THEY KNOW WHAT WAS RIGHT FOR ME?
They didn’t, In fact, no one did, because the truth is no one knew how to deal with children in the system back then, I mean can you imagine what it’s like to raise a child that’s been through more trauma than most people have ever experienced their entire lives? It’s difficult, and I know first hand because I was that child and at one point I was a foster mother to my niece when I became an adult.
I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times by now, “Not everyone could be a foster parent, but anyone could help a foster child” and that’s because
Raising a child is difficult.
Raising a child is difficult.
Did I mention that RAISING A CHILD IS FUCKING DIFFICULT!
But as difficult as it may be, it’s also one of the most rewarding things you can experience.There’s so much to worry about, so many things you want to protect them from and sometimes things you can’t. It’s hard, figuring out how to raise a stable loving well-rounded person. So I couldn’t blame people that turned me away after I was dropped off on their doorstep by the social worker. After the multiple homes that fell through and groups homes that never lasted. Good foster homes are hard to find, and not everyone gets lucky. For about a year or so I felt lucky, I thought I found the perfect home with Frances, turned out I was wrong. But that’s okay because When I turned 18 and realized that I was never going to be adopted, I let it sink it. I let it hurt because it made me stronger and I learned that it wasn’t because there was something wrong with me like I had come to believe for years, It was because there wasn’t a right place for me.
I was never given the emotional support or the stability that it takes to raise a child. And that goes for most children in the system. They say “It takes a village to raise a child” But I wasn’t born into a village, I was brought into this world by two people who were incapable of being parents and decided I wasn’t worth the effort.. decided that hurting me was easier. I didn’t have a mother or father to guide me through my teenage years, I didn’t have a home. I had social workers, therapists and probation officers who made decisions for me because they THOUGHT it was for the best, but truth be told, If I could have avoided the therapy sessions, the medication, The multiple foster homes, and the hours I spent locked in that room by myself with those dreadful blue cerulean painted walls then it probably wouldn’t have made me who I am today. Today, I am a strong, smart, brave and fearless young woman looking to make a difference in children’s lives because they are the future and I believe that every child deserves a voice, The kind of voice I never had.
© 2018 All Rights Reserved Erica DeCima