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This past week has changed my life and this summer continues to mold and shape me into the person I have dreamt of becoming. The Oregon Teen Conference was an amazing transformative experience where I met about 150 amazing and beautiful individuals that I eventually fell in love with. Their energy was contagious and each person carried a light with them filled with positivity.

After the conference ended I experienced a short stay at the Oregon Camp To Belong. Although I didn’t want to stay in the woods, or a cabin I’m glad I went through the experience. Camp To Belong reiterated to me something, that although I already knew, I needed to be reminded of and that message was about the importance of family.

For some reason for our whole lives we search for validation, wanting to be heard, listened to, supported, but most of all acceptanced and loved. That constant search drives people who can’t find it to the streets, drugs, alcohol, depression and loneliness. For those lucky ones who do find it more times then none find it from their family. The thing we call family is so important and foster children, I believe know that the most.

Camp To Belong had campers who for one week were able to spend time together. Although, they had been separated because of foster care they were so appreciative of the week they were able to share with one another.

The bond they had together was solidified with love, whether they met their sibling for the first time at the camp or only got that one-week to spend with them. It didn’t matter, they loved each other regardless.

For me I took my family at times for granted and failed to see the vital importance they had in my life. I would always say we were close and get caught up in my own life sometimes, failing to call for birthdays, saying hi, and sharing the love they had once blessed me with.

Continuing to form solid bonds wasn’t important to me because I knew they would be there tomorrow, or I just became lazy. I could force myself and call and hang with my friends and tell them I loved them but couldn’t do the same for my family, my sisters or brother.

I guess I lost sight of how to be a brother, forgetting that I’m a paramount part of a family, and an important facet to the lives of the individuals who may call me brother, son, nephew, or grandson.

There’s no rulebook to the roles one will have to take within his family especially, for one who has dealt and battled with the after effects of foster care. I’m slowly learning how to and I do at the end of the day need help. However what I do know is that for my whole life I loved my family because I was told to, but from this point on I chose to love them and I will continue to love them especially my brothers and sisters “new” and old.

Some of them I just met, and others have been in my life for years, but I can’ t stress it enough how much I love them. Shaq, Sarinah, Kalyn, Kila, you mean the world to me. And for the “new editions” Jarel, Freddy, Tyrone, Bernard, and Shantyl I love you. I may not know how to be your brother yet but I still love you.

My family is extremely large but at the same time filled with the best stuff on this earth, love. No one can fix our past, and although I live with none of my biological siblings I hope to be as close with each and every one of them as humanly possible. Once again love is a choice and I choose to love my family (and you my blog reader ☺)

Everything happens for a reason and “I see you”

With unconditional love,

Benjamin

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Jun 26, 2011 By Speak-Easy92