Royce Markley is a 2013 FosterClub All-Star and 2016 Level 2 All-Star. In between the two internships, Royce started a blog - FosterFight - to share the story from before, during, and after experiencing the foster care system. The blog is written in chronological order. It's best to start with the first post and follow Royce through his journey.
Below are teasers of FosterFight blog posts.
August, 27 1993, at around 3:30 p.m, the infant version of myself was brought quietly into this world. After five hours of labor, a seven and a half pound, blue eyed, baby me was born. Four people attended my birth; my mother, father, my sister, and of course a doctor. My mother used no painkillers during the process. As it turns out, the smooth sailing that was my birth would not apply to the rest of my life. It's ironic that a story like mine started with such an uneventful birth. Half my life has been spent in foster homes, but a small, unassuming hospital room in Folsom, California is where my story began. Continue to read here..
The first time my mother and father left me at home with my older sister, I was five days old. My mother told my sister she was going to the grocery store down the street. They went to the bar and didn't return for several hours. My sister might have called around and asked them to come home, but we had no phone at the time, so she sat awake awaiting their return. My birth hadn't changed anything about the way my mother and father lived their lives. If anything, it only added extra stress and responsibility onto individuals that were already struggling. They were going to live life how they wanted to regardless of me. Continue to read here..
My brother Forrest was born a year and a day after my own birth. After five hours of labor, he was born on August 28, 1994. Very few people made an appearance to meet him at the hospital, and his life began in a manner very similar to mine: uneventful. I didn't know it yet, but my brother's birth marked a very important day for me. The two of us still had some really tough times ahead of us, but after his birth I would always have a best friend with whom I would endure the tough times. Continue to read here..
I would like to take a break from my regular posts to tell you about an experience that I had recently. During the first week of August, I was given the opportunity to meet with United States Senator, Ron Wyden, to discuss with him his new legislation promoting a better foster care system. I was very excited for the opportunity to meet a United States senator, and to continue strengthening my skills in public speaking and building my resume as a foster care advocate. FosterClub, which is mentioned in my "about me" page (accompanied by a link), hosted this meeting at their headquarters in Seaside, Oregon. Additionally, FosterClub provided the funding for my trip to their office. The senator, his wife, the founder of FosterClub, several other current and former foster youth advocates and myself were all present for this meeting. Wyden was interested in our opinions on the legislation, and also wanted to gain perspective from our individual experiences. Continue to read more here..
When my father found out my mother was taking us to Arizona, he was so angry that he rammed a hole in the wall with his bike so my mother would not get her deposit back. After packing our stuff into a U-Haul, we hid from him in a hotel for two days. The first night we stayed in the hotel, my mother celebrated by getting drunk and high with her friends. She was leaving the state and finally going to be out of my father's reach. My older sister Danielle who was twelve at the time was left at the hotel to watch Forrest and me. I was too young to comprehend what my sister had begun to figure out. My older sister understood that my mother was only running from my father and not from her lifestyle or drug addiction. Read more here..
Our week of peace was over and it was time for my family to return to the life that we knew. Forrest was now about six months old and I about a year and a half. My older sister was about twelve years old, and she began attending the sixth grade after our move to Arizona. As time went on, our situation worsened. My family's health continued to decay, and the roots of our issues only dug deeper. Continue to read here..
We had lived in Arizona for less than a year when my mother decided she needed a change. Not a change for better or worse, just a change in general. A part of her wanted to go somewhere else and start a new and better life, but the traumatic experiences she had endured while living in Apache-Junction was likely her biggest motivator to relocate. While in Arizona, my mother was raped, her kids were almost taken away from her, and she had formed a relationship with a man who was arguably the most dysfunctional "boyfriend" she had dated for a prolonged period of time. Less than two months after she went through a string of messed up experiences covered in my last post, she decided she no longer wanted to be in Apache-Junction. My mother was using more than ever: a drug addict's way of coping with the traumatic year spent in Arizona. She had burned through people she thought were friends and alienated her parents and family through her actions- she was looking for a way out. She intended on running away from her problems again, and an opportunity presented itself to do just that. Read the rest of Rest Area here..
Foster care can be an incredibly uncomfortable and awkward experience. Never has this statement been truer than during the holidays. Christmas time was especially awkward as a foster youth. Being thrown into a family I had never met before was awkward enough, but Christmas was a whole new level of uncomfortable. Continue reading here..
Before I resume my story, I would like to apologize for the lack of posts in the last several weeks. I admittedly have had trouble putting words on the page. I had a group of busy weeks prior to midterms, and then they were upon me before I could recover. For the time being, school always has to take precedence over writing, but I would like to thank you for your patience. Sometimes I feel like it's better to write when it feels right anyways; the words come out when they're ready to I guess. Let's focus on what you all came here for though; the story continues. Read more here..
The months leading up to my release from from foster care were a time of great progress for my mother. I covered in my previous blog that my mother met Ron and Sandy, and they became a key component in her recovery. While she lived in their home, she began to understand discipline, commitment and hard work. She began the process of healing, and through church she started to understand the importance of spirituality in her life. It wouldn't be inaccurate to say she was doing everything necessary to climb her way out of the hole she had dug, and as a result, she was working her way towards a place where she really did deserve to have her parental rights back. Continue to read..
I recently had the opportunity to talk with a group of foster youth about some of the troubles they currently face in the foster care system and the problems that landed them in care in the first place. Unfortunately, most of the discussions I have with foster youth are centered around negativity. Some of them spoke about their parents dying. Some had parents whose drug of choice was more important to them than their children. Others were passed around from foster home to foster home, forever searching for a place to plant roots. Continue to read..
I write this on January 4th, 2017. Outside my window, light flakes of snow delicately wander towards the ground. The trees and bushes are lightly covered with a thin film of white frost: The blackish streets and concrete sidewalks veiled by a flat layer of undisturbed snow. As I sit here admiring the beauty, enjoying the last days of my Christmas break, I remember that I have a job to do. The story I've started is unfinished. There are chapters in my story yet to be told. I invite you to turn to the page and continue following me through the tumultuous history of events that led me to where I am today. Continue reading "First Day of Kindergarten" . . .
FosterFight Post #13: Regressing to the Mean
Disclaimer: this post discloses abuse - please be aware of personal triggers.
June of 2001, my family made the short sweltering-hot trip across Yakima, Washington to our new apartment. We enthusiastically unpacked our things ignoring the beads of sweat that rolled down our faces. Compared to the one bedroom we had lived in previously, our new apartment was luxurious. My sister, Holly, had her own bedroom, as well as my mother. Forrest and I shared a bedroom that was large by our standards. Continue reading "Regressing to the Mean."
FosterFight Post #13: The Closest to Hogwarts I've Ever Been
In 2005, a woman by the name of Shannon Simich decided to host a spring break camp for foster youth. After a successful first camp, Shannon's Spring Break Camp became an annual event. Just a few days ago, I had the opportunity to attend Shannon's spring break camp for the third time. Shannon was inspired to start Spring Break Camp after hearing the foster youth she worked with discussing not having anything to do over break. As a kid, Shannon's family visited Death Valley, California every spring break. Her memories of this tradition mean a lot to her, and she wanted to create a similar sense of tradition for current foster youth. Spring break camps and vacations are often expensive, and the payments foster parents receive from the government are generally just enough to provide for the basic needs of foster youth. Shannon saw the need for a spring break camp, and she set out to fill it. Continue Reading "The Closest to Hogwarts I've Ever Been."