A few years ago, I was participating in a workshop and during the 3 days, the coach told me to stop labeling myself as a foster kid.
I told her I would but I didn’t realize how hard this was. It’s been a huge part of my identity. And I’ve been choosing my words very carefully ever since.
But there’s something that has come up that really bother’s me.
Identifying as a foster kid isn’t a bad thing and it’s time that we stop making the kids the bad
I didn’t end up in foster care because I got in trouble with the law or something else morally and unethical displeasing to society.
No, I ended up in foster care because my parents could not be the parents I needed them to be at the time.
At the time of my placement in foster care, I was about 2 years old.
And as I became an adult, studied mental health and earned my degree as a counselor and worked with families at risk, it always bothered me that the kids were made out to be the bad guys.
And I am very cautiously am not trying to blame the parents because they too just could not be the parents they needed to be for their children.
I believe that in each moment, we all are just doing the best we can with what we know. We can’t do more than that or better than that.
It’s that notion of when you are ready, you will receive the information you need to move forward.
There is a tremendous amount of work that I feel needs to be done in how we support children that end up in the system to no faults of their own. And to maintain the stigma that foster kids are bad is not only wrong but does them a disservice.
More often than not, children who are raised within the system feel
And when you place the stigma on them that indicates they’ve done something wrong, you are only fueling all the negative feelings they already believe to be true about themselves.
I no longer work as a therapist or with families at risk, but I plan is to support organizations any which way I can and as an entrepreneur that means financial support but also donating my Rebel Soul Handbooks to organizations that would use them to support their clients.
I also want to be a voice, a voice that knowing placing blame is not going to bring forth change. Compassion, love, and empathy … now that can move things into the direction of fewer kids in foster care or at least appropriate tools and resources to help them maneuver this thing called life. To ensure that when they age out of the system, they have the skills and resources to create a good life for themselves.
It saddens me to know that in some studies only 26% of children that grow up in foster care graduate high-school and that less than half of that go to college. I am not saying that college is the answer for everyone, but I know first hand that I didn’t even think I was smart enough to earn a degree.
And giving the emotions of not feeling worthy, deserving or loved, how can we expect foster kids to want to graduate high-school or even get a degree in something they always dream about doing?
And while I understand why the coach asked me to stop identifying as a foster kid, I don’t know that I can. Because if I deny this part of me, that means I was and am everything other people think about children in the foster care system.
And that just doesn’t feel good to me. I want to see a world where people understand that kids that end up in the system are not bad kids and that they are not the ones to blame for being in the system in the first place.
And I also don’t want to blame the parents and I know a lot of people will say that is exactly who we should blame. But you don’t know what you don’t know and the reality is that sometimes, the parents are doing the best they can with what they know.
None of us are born as bad people (okay there are exceptions to this, I know) but every single person is formed by the values of other people and from there we develop our own personal values. We are formed by our experiences and the knowledge we gain through it all.
I’ve said it before and it’s worth repeating: Compassion, Love, and Empathy that is how you and I are going to create change.
So yes, I grew up in Foster Care and I am more than okay with that.
Have you ever considered what getting clear on your dreams does for you?
Or what one simple action will do for your life?
You have the vision that is so far out of reach and you wonder every single day when will your dream turn into reality.
You plan, plan and then plan some more waiting for perfection and just the right time. You keep analyzing every single detail about your dream. You keep talking yourself out of it and your doubts and fears tell you that it just cannot happen.
I’m going to tell you something and you may not like it, but the right time will never come into reality.
And now I am going to tell you that you CAN turn your dreams into reality, with one single thing.
You know what drives me bonkers?
Focus on one thing … that… absolutely maddening.
We are not one-dimensional – we are people with multiple interests and quite dimensional in a wee hexagon kind of way.
I don’t know if you feel this way, but for me, focusing on one thing would lead me to not have an interest in that one thing. I need multiple projects, businesses, hobbies, and activities to keep me feeling alive and seriously harnessing all that I love.
We need to explore different things, do the DIY, do the exploration and learning to see what we like and what we don’t like.
Years ago, I went to college for an accounting agree, something I am incredibly good at because I have a keen sense for detail. What I am not good at is sitting in a cubicle and being an employee.
I then build my first business, selling my handmade creations – not just one thing like crochet items, but multiple handmade things by me because I love to create like wood burning and occasionally painting and making jewelry.
I have some mad skills because of this because I taught myself how to build websites in WordPress – I am techy this way … and I am so good with that. I can learn just about any program in a matter of a day or so.
Then I earned a master’s degree in counseling because I love the brain, love learning how it works and specialized in cognitive behavioral therapy because your thoughts influence your behavior and vice versa and I use this modality in my coaching.
So now I run 3 businesses, by myself – thought I do outsource some things! Because I love to create (handmade and build websites and I am not developer or designer but I can take a theme and make it happen). But I also love to coach people in going after whatever it is they want.
All of this is WHO I am. A multi-passionate individual who listens to mostly rock music with a heavy dose of love for The Beatles and John Lennon. I love to be in nature, hike and go out for karaoke.
The thing about this is that you CAN absolutely own your passions and make them happen, you just have to find your flow in it all. So, if focusing on one thing, isn’t really your thing, own that – it’s okay – other people do it and it CAN work.
I wanted to talk about our strength because of we all inner strength. We always go through situations and challenges and wonder if we are strong enough to make it.
In the past, people would come up to me and tell me they don’t know how I do it. Especially during the time when my son was hospitalized for months on end, going to college and still managing (somewhat poorly) things on the home front.
But here is the thing, we will find our strength especially during times when we literally have no choice. And I say this, as we do have a choice because we can pull the covers over our head or just get up and do it anyway.
And as we are going through some hard times, we should allow ourselves some downtime and some self-care and to just unplug and whatever it is we need to do, to take care of ourselves.
Inner strength comes from recognizing that we must put ourselves first, even if it seems to be the most challenging thing to do.
But then comes the point when you must get up, to find your strength to get going and too motivated or otherwise you won’t get over the hump. And if you have taken downtime and engaged in self-care, the next step or steps will reveal themselves to you.
So, this morning if you are facing anything that is challenging you, take care of yourself and know that you have the strength to get through it. Journal about what is going on, go for a walk or take a hot bath. Acknowledge yourself that you are doing the best you can in each given moment.
And if you want some help to have a different perspective or a boost in confidence take the challenge!