Two rooms, one bathroom and nine foster children/youth, including myself shared small living spaces in my first foster home, in Southern Alabama. Transferring to a different school, leaving my friends at Enterprise Junior High School (Old Junior) to finish my last four weeks of my ninth grade year, put a strain on my future education and placement.
Arriving the day of enrolling at Zion Chapel High School, in Jack Alabama, I was meeting my foster mother and sister for the first time. My case worker, at the time, drove me to the school and from the children’s home I was staying before finding my first foster placement there I became another added picture on her wall of foster children and youth. When I had arrived to stay with my first foster family, my mental health was clearly needing attention. Living in tight spaces and living courters didn’t help with my mental health stabilization, that I needed. Struggling with many mental health disorders, while living in my first foster home, became out of control to where I would be obsessed with cleaning and everything had to be done, “the right way, so you don’t have to do it over again and waste time mentality.” I cleaned, scrubbed and disinfecting everything probably my first day while living with my first foster family.
While, my new foster parents had a chart system for chores and grades. Keeping up with nine children and youth can be hectic. My foster parents were surprised how much I liked to clean! I came from living with a military family on Ft. Rucker, so it became my normal to have everything SPOTLESS…or else I would have a panic attack or PTSD, feeling like I had to do everything myself. My foster parents did not in any way, force me to clean, it was just my usual mentality of having a living space as clean as possible.
Being in a house full of chaos and tight courters, made it difficult concentrating on my education, referring to transferring from Enterprise, to a small rural county school, of a graduating class of 36. Spending the last five weeks of ninth grade, with strangers who I was going to spend my next three years with was not settling in my mind.
On a usual day of living with my first foster family included: running errands, helping with foster sisters/brothers, assist loading/unloading a trailer FULL of food bank supplies, sport practices, court hearings, visitations at DHR, etc.
Living with my first foster home placement, in Jack, AL, an extremely small rural town of, Southern Alabama. I lived with my first foster family for over a year and a half. We went to church on a regular basis, every Wednesday evening and Sunday morning/evening worship took place in a small country church. We often went to church camp, sometimes it would work out for the foster parents, if they needed a break to take family vacations with their own. The foster home had three bedrooms for foster youth and children, two sets of bunk beds in each room and one bathroom. At one point, my first foster parents had at most ten foster children and youth.
The impact of foster homes should help stabilize children and youth who enter the foster care system by providing them and their parents of resources for future release of the child or youth. There are nearly 5, 100 children and youth in foster care in Alabama, unfortunately when their is common issues, with parents of foster youth struggle with: drug abuse, child neglect, physical & mental abuse, incarceration and or mental health issues.
More to come, stay tuned in… Thank you for all of the incredible support, feedback and letting me share the most vulnerable moments of my life with all of you!