Besides the post I just finished, I haven’t written in a while and honestly I don’t want to write. It’s not that I haven’t had the inspiration, I have, it’s that I haven’t had the drive. I have about 6 posts sitting in my head but none of them really want to be written. I guess sometimes, some things are just too personal, or too confusing, to put into coherent words. Maybe it’s not even that, maybe it’s just that the things that I need to write about are too hard, or too sad, and sometimes too revealing of what the system is really like. I don’t want to paint a horrible picture of the people who have made an effort in my life, it just seems unfair…but tonight I need to. I feel like this world needs to wake up, that the people in it just need to stop being so rude and quick to judge. We need to start watching our words. Foster care was hard. Being pulled out of everything I had ever known and immersed into a totally new environment was overwhelming. During my first week in foster care I was told many times that I would end up just like my parents, all foster kids do. I was labeled, by my first case worker, as a child with no hope–no future. Because of that belief, my caseworker felt that there was no need to keep up with how I was doing or what needed to be done for me–I was left once again, independent. During that first year, there were many things that needed attending to, that no one showed up for. There was a parent/teacher conference that was worth a third of my grade. I had to attend as myself and my guardian, no one else would go. I passed that third of the class because the teacher felt it was admirable of me to be so focused on my schooling that I would go alone to a parent/teacher conference. I had multiple failed visits with my mom but had no one to explain why. The pressure to try to explain something so delicate was left to the transportation worker, who often times had no answers. My mom willingly gave her rights away and not one of my case workers, my CASA worker, or therapists told me. I found out in a letter sent to me through the courts. My best friend died and the only person who comforted me was a child herself. I stopped eating and my self harm increased, the caseworker took a picture, told me not to do it again, then turned and left. The next few years I went from family to family in an attempt to be adopted, but like my case workers, my foster parents couldn’t look past the piece of me that was damaged. To them, I was just another troubled kid who would never amount to anything more than my parents. Often times I was told that I needed to fix this or change that, I was told that I was a horrible sister, I was asked why I couldn’t be more like Elizabeth Smart, and more often than not demanded that I love the people who took me in, because they took me in. I was intentionally ignored, yelled at, and told to grow up. It was a very lonely time in my life. I thought that part of my life was over when I was kicked out of my adoptive parents home. I felt that it was impossible for any more people to be so uncaring and dependant on my past. That was until this last week when I talked to my old CASA worker. She is the person who was assigned to be my voice in foster care. She was the person who, though she didn’t spend much time with me, decided a lot of my fate. I thought that after knowing the things I have overcome and how far I am she would understand that I wouldn’t be another statistic. I was wrong. I contacted her to get information about financial aid through the state. When she asked why and I responded by telling her that I am applying for a more pricey college, her response was, “what makes you think you can go to a school like that.” Our conversation continued with me explaining that this school will give me a small, more intimate environment than a traditional school, allowing me to thrive. I explained to her that I do not do well in large crowds and that attending a community college wasn’t what I wanted. We talked about how I need something that will challenge me while giving understanding to my specific needs. Instead of giving her an answer of why I thought I  could go to a school like the one I have chosen, I gave her reasons why I chose to go. Finally, she blurted, “Ruby, foster kids go to community college. What makes you think you can go to this pricey school, and who do you think is going to pay for it?” My response was that just because I was a foster kid doesn’t mean that I don’t deserve a great education and great things in life. She asked me again why I thought I could go to a school like that and before I hung up I answered, “because people like you keep telling me I can’t.” Honestly, I was really hurt. It hurt that after so many years, there are still so few who understand. It bothered me that after all the work I have done, the obstacles I have overcome, and the effort I have put into not becoming like my parents, I am still being judged as someone who isn’t worthy because of my parents mistakes.   I think this is the reason we hear so many stories of failure. There is a lack of understanding, compassion, and faith that even the unwanted can do great things. I am a fighter. I don’t quit. And if you tell me I can’t, you better believe, I will.

 

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