I think we can all agree that as foster youth, we have to jump through additional hoops to achieve our goals. We have to take the long way in doing things that give our friends minimal trouble. However, going the great lengths to get your financial aid for school or to make sure that you are receiving all of the benefits for independent living shows that you are truly deserving of it. These necessities become challenges to foster youth and having the ability to overcome them and have everything under control is an accomplishment in itself.
My home-life growing up did not hold the greatest example for what to do in order to succeed. My parents made it seem difficult to make the right choices and to follow the path to a successful life. This left me terrified that I could easily mirror their habits and fate would point me in the wrong direction. Being in foster care, I was the one doubting myself. I was telling myself that I wasn't capable of success because I did not have an example from my parents to follow. The idea that all children are a product of their parents brought me to the conclusion that an unsuccessful future was inevitable and it was overwhelming.
The stress and anxiety the deadlines I had to meet and prerequisites had to complete made me want to give up and take the easy way out. I never thought that getting into college and setting up my future could be so hard. But then again, I never thought I would be in foster care either. At one point, I was ready to give up on the financial aid paperwork and just take out a crap load of loans. Realizing that this was not the smartest idea, I knew I had to get it together. I would not be motivated by my parents and therefore had to motivate myself.
Little did I know, I was subconsciously making the right decision all along. By seeing their wrong doings, I was taking note of the kind of person that I want to be and the kind that I don’t. I was observing the different failures and developed motivation to do something great with my life. I sought out guidance through supportive adults in my life and forgot all about my fears of following in my parents footsteps. I used the example that was initially set for me as a guide of “what not to do” and began to envision my life as I wanted it. I drew my own path and brought only the people that encouraged me and my success.
As foster youth, taking the easy way out is not an option. We have to work harder than everybody else, but I see that as a positive thing. Each extra step that we have to take comes with something to learn and grow from. We sometimes have to learn the hard way, but we gain the experience to get it right and to help those around us going through similar situations learn from our mistakes. Lastly, we learn who to take with us on our journey and who to leave behind. Those who doubt us and label us as incapable are free to leave at any time. Foster youth are set to take a different journey, but by no means are we any less capable than anyone else. Our experience can only make us stronger.
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