I was in three homes total, which is low — the average is six to eight. My first sexual experiences were in the form of abuse in foster care, though not at the hands of my foster parents. I do think the foster parents in the other homes cared — the family in our second placement adopted my little brother and became my older brother’s guardians. But I didn’t trust anyone. I had to survive and protect my little brother. My agenda was: Get through and get out. I excelled in school and sports and saved money working two jobs, and I kept a closed heart.
I made a best friend in high school, and her family is who I consider my family now. They show up for anything that is important to me. They bought me an old car so that I could get to and from work. In an emergency, they are the people I call. I once gave them a glass postcard that says “Thank you for always being there for me. You didn’t have to get paid to do so.”
I think of that as I mentor two teen mothers in foster care. They say, “What, you volunteer?’ I say, ‘Yes, I want to be here for you. I want to be present.’” And that’s odd for them to hear, but it gives them a little more of a reason to trust me.
Read the full article on The Boston Globe’s website.