Stories Of Aging Out – Shane
Shane tells his story with honesty and candor, reflecting on his experience as a foster child and the profound impact it has had on his life.
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I came into foster care because my mom was 15 years old when she gave birth to me in about several years later she had my little brother and she left me for days a number to take care of my brother because she walked out and left us as a result of her addiction to heroin I know my mom loved me very much because when I came into foster care they say that I had a very large vocabulary and you don’t develop that on your own it’s obvious that my mother spent a lot of time with me in spite of her drug addiction one of the things that was really sad though is that as a result of being in foster care we moved around a lot we were moved from home to home and rejected quite a bit I still live a lot with that pain the thought of moving from house to house and going through that whenever I think of those times I often think about the numbers of children who still go through that I think about it because of how it affects me today in my relationships and how I view and approach life the passion that I bring to the things that matter most to me I also remember the hope that I had for the many times that families came forward and there was interest expressed and possibly my brother and I getting adopted and I remember the excitement that people expressed when they saw us and they thought that we were cute little boys while we were cute when we were 12 and 9 years old and I remember the things that they would say about how we looked like this relative I looked like that relative and how that would just give me so much encouragement and hope because I thought I might get my chance at a family I remember the disappointments when it didn’t happen I often wondered why why when I was placed in a home someone might send me back because maybe I wasn’t the kind of kid that might tell the truth all the time or I was a kid who stole things from time to time or I would act out in different ways and I felt bad because when I would get kicked out of a home I would look at my little brother and realized that it was often my fault that we were being thrown out of a home and those feelings again of moving from place to place and feeling a bit unsettled made it very hard for me to trust people and so I guess as I went through my life growing up and then eventually having to be separated from my brother because we wanted to make sure he had the best chance of getting a family and ultimately fortunately he did my brother ultimately did get adopted and it hurt him that we couldn’t be adopted together he’s a grown man now and he wonders even as a grown man why was he left while he had the satisfaction of getting a home he feels that he was left so there was a price paid that we had to be separated even though he had a family I went through the rest of my life feeling as if I wasn’t quite good enough feeling that there was something really wrong with me because I never did get a family and I know that there are hundreds of children out there hundreds of thousands of children out there who beat themselves up because they really wonder why aren’t they good enough to get a home something that every child deserves it’s a basic human right for children to have childhoods to not have to worry and wonder why don’t they have family why don’t they have a mom and a dad or aunt and an uncle some kind of security of family so that they can thrive and grow up to be the best kind of people that they can be I struggled with that I tried to dig deep with it so that in spite of it I can be the best person that I can be and so ultimately I was determined to prove people wrong I wanted to make sure that I would be in a position one day to care for my brother if something could happen was something happened to him and to care for my other siblings that came along afterwards so ultimately I did do that I went on and I graduated from high school in spite of all the moves and that resulted in me having to go to six different high schools and I graduated on time as my class valedictorian I went on to college and I got a degree in Health and Human Services and then I went on and received another degree in health care management another graduate degree in management and had a successful career in the Navy and went on and just other great jobs and and became an advocate for children although that was never my intention but found that I really needed to do that because I wanted people to understand the pain and to understand the possibilities at the same time that all of the children who awaiting have and I often wonder now that although I never did get that family that when people look at me and they see that I actually became the director of a major foundation that I was the chief of staff and the mayor’s office in Washington DC and that now that I run a major advocacy organization I actually wonder who wouldn’t want to call me son now who wouldn’t be proud of having me as a part of their family and how many children out there would say the same you..