Theda Clark was the name of the woman at my first foster home. It was a temporary home. I was allowed to stay there only two weeks. Whose dumb idea was that? I was just getting settled in.
I worked hard around her house, but frankly she needed the help. She had three or four other kids, funny I don’t really recall now, just that she was always busy. She had homemade cookies and as long as I was home by six (for dinner), my time was my own. I got to hang out with my friends at the Burger Chef.
I would sweep and mop her floors, talk her head off and sometimes even helped bake cookies. She was a sweet grandmotherly type. I helped her out and she treated me with respect. I could have been happy there. She asked Child Protective Service if she could keep me, by they turned her down. It was with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart that I left the foster home.
Twice within just as many weeks, I was ripped away from everything I knew and loved. Yes, I loved Theda and she will always have a special place in my heart. Being with her was a special time. The cleaning gave me a chance to think. Theda would slip me a couple dollars for a burger and give me some space…something I was sorely in need of.
I went through about 5 or 6 foster homes after that, one had cockroaches and I had to sleep with another girl. I can remember thinking that was quite odd and I was not happy about it. I had only ever slept with one other person – my Grandmother – and that was a place of honor. The girl turned about to be about three years older than myself. She was nice enough and we got along. I don’t recall her name.
It was during that time I learned to fit in wherever I was, whether it be a biker bar or a fancy restaurant. I could be anyone I wanted, act any way I wanted. Let’s just say I tried on several personas; once my name was Tony. Another time, I went by the handle Tennis Shoe. It was interesting but unfulfilling, and I soon tired of it. Besides, it was hard to remember to answer to someone else’s name.
It was a crazy, mixed up, time. I never knew when I would be forced to move. I had no say in what happened to me. My stuff was rifled through repeatedly and stuffed into plastic bags. It’s humiliating and degrading. I think it’s great that they now have groups who gather suitcases for foster kids.
At my last foster home I really learned not to trust anyone, and for the most part I don’t let anyone get too close anymore. Trust is something very fragile and I can count those I trust on one hand. Today, I have a lot of phobias. I have to be in control but I don’t like to make decisions. It’s as bad as it sounds.
I found myself at 14 out on the streets, left to fend for myself. I stayed on people’s couches and floors at first, then it became harder to find friends to stay with.
I will forever be grateful to the people at the Salvation Army. They helped me out so much. It was the middle of the winter in Howell, Michigan. There was about 6 inches of snow on the ground. My boyfriend and I had no place to stay, so we stole a bale of hay (sorry), dragged it under an overpass and used it for a bed. I thought we were going to freeze to death.
The Salvation Army not only gave me clothes to wear, but a job. Then one of the ladies had a room for me to rent. So many people have helped me along the way. It’s the little things that people do that touch my heart. I don’t see the world as others do, because I’ve seen the evil that exists in the world. I’ve been homeless, eating out of trash cans, and planning where to do your business. Where do you leave the few things you own, so you can work?
Without a place to live it’s very hard to get a job and without a job it’s impossible to eat and have a place to live. It’s a vicious circle, it’s no wonder so few get their lives back. I blame CPS for a lot of the troubles I’ve had in my life: they did everything they could to get me to lie about my parents. I heard them lie in court, on the witness stand. I am NOT an unbiased individual. I hate CPS and will do everything I can to make sure no child lives the life I have.
Kidjacked is a place to share your stories, plan, a link to tons if information. Are you writing letters? Are you planning an event? Send them to me, I’ll add them as soon as I can. We can win, but we must band together and push back hard.