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A little about me before I begin: I was placed into foster care as an infant, adopted at the age of 5 by the best parents ever, have traveled the world, lived in Africa, and played a role in policy that changed the lives of thousands of foster youth but I have never done anything like this. Oh and I am 23 years old!

I was just looking for an apartment back in Michigan when I came to a harsh realization... I have no idea what I am doing! I started out thinking how easy this was going to be and how much fun it was to shop for your own place, that was until I started to look at what the apartments/ rental house ads were saying. "Application", "Application Fee", "Utilities", "Parking Available w/ Fee", etc.

I have never applied for an apartment (all the travel I did was pre- arranged housing, including me living in Africa). I did not know you had to pay a fee to turn in a paper requesting to pay them more to live in a place (rent) nor do I have a clue what utilities cost. HARSH REALIZATION: Being an adult sucks! And to top it off you have to pay for parking?! I know I grew up in a small town but I think I might have grown up under a rock or I was just blind to everything around me.

How do I learn what utilities are? GOOGLE. I found out utilities means electricity, heat, water, trash, internet, cable/ satellite. I knew you pay for electric, heat, internet, cable but water and trash. I have no clue what that would cost. Oh, wait... TRASH... you pay for trash? I guess you are never done learning.

I guess I feel more of a kid now being I realize what I do not know then when I was a kid! I have thought about keeping this a secret and trying to google everything but think maybe I can get some advise or someone might be able to use my story as a teaching tool/ moment for other youth who may be in the same situation.

I the past 4 years I have learned so much: How to use a washing machine, dryer, dish washer, sort laundry, iron, use a grill, boil an egg, bake a homemade pie, that you should not put a fork in the microwave, install an internet router, how to fix cabinet doors, how a garbage disposal works, and I know there is so much more but cannot remember it all. The biggest lessons I learned these past couple of years is: I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING! and it is okay to ask for help!

Marcus Brown
marcus10@fosterclub.com

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Jun 19, 2012 By brownm