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It has been my experience as is the same with many other young people in fostercare that people expect you to fail. They do not believe in your ability to do well, for a number of reasons. Sometimes it is because they have developed stereotypes about us, other times it is part of the history associated with the culture you come from. A lot of the young people in fostercare are black and Latino. It seems like the stereotypes that come with being a minority are compounded with your foster care status.

Therefore achieving some level of success seems illogical. How could yo possibly do something with your life???? I have heard professionals say that we are at a lower level of development because of the hard times we have experienced. Unfortunately, we also place these labels people have for us on ourselves.. At least that was the case for me....

For a long time I did not know there was a life beyond the one I experienced. Unfortunately, I put those labels on myself, and sabotaged my personal and academic success because I was conditioned to think that was what I was supposed to do. Expecting more of myself was unheard of, and scary because I felt that I did not have any support or guidance.

But more than being scared to succeed, I was terrified of being like my parents, or some of my biological family members. I know I wanted more for myself, but I felt like I was hitting the ceiling as i tried to push pass my fears. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do in my life. It took many attempts, and many failures to finally get it right. I felt as if I was hurting myself to help myself. Because for me those things that were considered unhealthy and not normal were healthy and normal because it was all I knew.

So because I tried and grew with determination as a result of trying, I began to do things that everyone said I was not capable or would ever be skilled enough to do. Something as simple as going to college, almost everyone told me I would not be able to handle it, or do the coursework. I believe they conspired against me, to deliberately not give me any support so that they would be right and I would be wrong.

Don't get me wrong many times, I wanted to give up, and I felt that maybe they were all right. I had to dare to believe I had more to offer the world. That my existence was important and worth the the trouble of trying. I only have one life, and if I let other people tell me what I was meant to be I would be nothing.

It is hard, but if we decide to do better, and try until we get it right we could make the impossible possible.

Aug 5, 2008 By Naomi