The mentors who made a huge impact in my life…
Ever wonder why things happen? Everyone has grown up differently and never the same way another person grew up. When you’re at your lowest and you don’t know who to go to and talk to it can be a world full of darkness. Every kid in foster care deserves to have someone who they trust and can talk to about anything and not feel judged. As a former foster child, I’ve had a lot of people coming into my life only to leave when they told me they would be in my life forever. When you’re in the care of the state, you’re just another statistic of the system.
Many kids in foster care go through extreme trauma as young children which results in years of pain and mental health issues. However, there are many things that can help a child who has been through so much trauma that aren’t done enough.
One thing that was offered to me was a mentor through the county’s mentor program for foster kids. Having that person who you can look up to and smile when you see them on your bad days. For me, I was given a mentor who was picked by the program and matched
with me, for different activities or events, I liked to enjoy just as much as my mentor did.
When I first started hanging out with my mentor we would go on walks together with our dogs and we would sit down at a restaurant to eat I would let all sorts of things off my chest and let her listen and give me feedback when I needed it. We had a lot in common as we both loved animals, we both loved to work hard, we both loved to enjoy the outside weather and adventure to different places together and we also both loved to build and fix things.
One fond memory I have with her is when I was 16 and I was hospitalized on the 4th of July and she came and visited me while I wasn’t able to leave. She surprised me with snacks, and books, and played some games while she visited me.
While many people/kids in the US have family members that they are close to and can go home to for Christmas or Thanksgiving, many foster children don’t have that. They live in cities and towns closest to human trafficking areas or violent crime cities. At the same time, many people don’t know that the kids in foster care who don’t live in foster homes as there aren’t enough and for other reasons, they don’t know that kids in foster care also live in independent living programs(17-21), group homes(12-18), residential treatment facilities(6-18), Youth shelters(12-18) only for foster kids when they have no other placement to place them in.
Every kid deserves to be loved by someone no matter how young or old they are. When you don’t get that love and care you need as a young infant or child it can negatively impact the rest of that child's life. In those situations where the kid didn’t get the love or care they needed as a young kid, they often are diagnosed with RAD( Reactive Attachment Disorder). I personally can tell you that I live with RAD every day of my life and it’s a huge struggle. I’m constantly thinking nobody cares or loves me as that is how my brain was taught at a young age. However, that isn’t the case.
Now I was lucky to recently get another amazing mentor but to me, she is more than that. As me and her met years earlier but didn’t connect until again till October of 2022. We met years earlier at a video shoot to get foster children out there for other people who want to adopt me. Her name which many probably know is Becky. She has been such an amazing part of my life and I wish she and I connected way earlier. I look up to her in many ways and she shown how much I can trust her with anything.
To sum it up every child deserves to be loved no matter what situation they are in or where they are living. Don’t give up on your kid no matter what they say or do. Everybody has made mistakes in their life but a huge mistake is not loving your kid and giving up on them when they are the most vulnerable. Please love your kids and cherish the memories with them cause you never know when they might be ripped from you and then they will always think it’s their fault no matter how many times people tell them it wasn’t their fault. If you see a kid who needs to be loved because of whatever reason, they don’t have enough support or love, they don’t have anyone who they can truly trust and just have someone listening to them or if you see a kid who you want to take in and love like your own, I promise you will make a huge impact in their life