My journey in the Michigan foster care system was a devastating and repetitive battle that my sisters and I had to fight to overcome. We thought that we had found our ‘forever family,’ but when I left for college I got a phone call that caused me to relive my tragic past all over again and today I am going to share that story with all of you. . .
That phone call was my little sister frantically explaining that she was placed back into the foster care system. The situation devastated me because I did not want my sister to go through everything all over again while I was not there to aid her through the hardship. The agony I felt almost caused me to put my educational plans on hold so I could rush home to be there for her. Instead, my older sister stepped up and took her in and told me to continue my education so I could personally show her that the past didn’t have to define her future. My older sister did not have a lot of money though, so I would pick up extra shifts at work and send money home to them any chance I could. It was very difficult to stay focused on my education when I was emotionally somewhere else. To have so much stress and financial obligations constantly weighing on my mind was something that many of my peers did not have to worry about. However, people who have been in foster care typically have more life struggles than other students and for some, getting a college degree is a goal that could seem way too hard. I am here to let all of those individuals know from personal experience that it is possible to beat the odds.
Today, I will commonly get asked the question: “What did it feel like being in foster care?” Although there were times that I did not think that I had the support to make it to where I am today, I did and I am proud of who I am. There were times in college that I wanted to give up, but I didn’t. There were times that I thought I wasn’t going to succeed, but I pushed through the doubt. I want foster youth to see that they can do anything they set their minds to and that their childhood does not have to deter them from their true potential in life. My childhood has made me feel different at times, but what makes me different makes me special. Instead of hiding my past from the world I have decided to embrace it because my pain is a gift that can be used to inspire others and to change the system for future foster youth. The FosterClub internship means everything to me because this is my opportunity to make that dream a reality.
My name is Angelica and I am a sister, an optimist, a scholar and a foster youth.