Coming Into Care

I Wanted to Dig a Hole
By Betsy

I wanted to dig a hole, a hole big enough to live in and store a few books. The night made me want to be left alone isolated and gone from the world. The first night away from my mother, in foster care, made me want to leave human civilization. If I could not be with my mother, then I did not want to be near anyone.

As I made the sharp turn to the front of our apartment I noticed many black garbage bags. The big, black bags used to put clothes in when you want to give them away to the Salvation Army. I neared, questioning why. I recognized my shirt and my mother's purple shoes with the Velcro laces. Why are my things out on the street, where anyone can take them? At this moment I fell, tears falling from my eyes, knees on the dirty pavement. I did not want to create a scene, however, a woman in green scrubs asked, "What's wrong?" Getting strength to stand proved hard but moving required more effort. I don't have a home, a bed to sleep in. Breaking down again, I cried into my knees, clutching my blue denim jeans. I wiped the tears from my cheeks, plastered a smile on my face and left with some of my dignity. I thanked the nurse for her concern, reassuring her that I would be alright. I grasped my brother's hand and departed.

My brother and I climbed into a van driven by a woman who introduced herself as the social worker assigned to our case. In the van, she informed us our mother has too many problems and she physically cannot care for us. She said that my mother has many illnesses; since she could not care for herself, how did we expect her to care for us? I almost said I can pay the bills, I know how to pay them. My brother could get a job. Living together is what matters most. But I did not have the energy to fight her, and around midnight she dropped me off at a residential group home. With the flick of a switch, a fluorescent bulb flooded my new bedroom as I lugged my garbage bag of belongings in. I fought the urge to break down again. Instead, I collapsed onto the stained mattress. Before slipping into a deep slumber, my mind replayed my mother's last expression of love before we were taken: "Take care of your brother and always remember that I love you." How could I ever forget?

I would never forget the love that motivated me to become successful in life. The opportunities I have been given could not have happened without foster care. Although I have not been unscathed, I count my blessings. As I get ready for my future, I plan on opening an advocacy group for foster children. I am all too familiar with the feeling of heartbreak due to separation from my mother so I want to be able to comfort the children going through similar tragedies.

Eight years later, instead of moving into a group home, I am moving into my first college dorm room. Instead of sadness, I am filled with excitement! I know that for the first time, I am safe. I can make the choice of what I want to do. My goal will be to graduate with two Bachelors from SUNY New Paltz in May of 2016, eleven years after I entered foster care. My dream is to be a lawyer in a Family Court, protecting the community that gave me my life.

Throughout the years, I have been reminded of all the potential I hold, and finally I know that the hole I wanted to escape to was really a tunnel to the rest of my life.