Fortunately, I do not know many specifics of the day my triplet sisters and I were taken away from our mom and dad.
I know it was shortly before our third birthday. I know my parents were both arrested. I know my mom can’t even speak of the memory to this day, because it almost killed her.
All I know is my sisters and I lived with who I would describe as an angel on Earth. I mean, who else would receive three 2-year-olds with open arms for an unknown amount of time.
Not only an angel—a foster mom.
I didn’t learn about my foster mom until I was 20 years old. Since I can remember, I’ve always had these prominent childhood memories, but I couldn’t quite place them with my mom and dad.
I came to find out my first memories are of being with my foster mom in her home, with my sisters.
I know my parents wish this fact wasn’t true, but it is.
Yes, I have memories as a 3-year-old playing in my foster mom’s fenced-in backyard, hiding vegetables I didn’t want to eat under some pushed around mashed potatoes at her dinner table, and playing with my sisters in our bedroom at her apartment.
These are my memories in foster care from 25 years ago.
My parents are amazing people, and I believe they are the best parents in the world. I’m so thankful my mom and dad were able to regain custody of my sisters and me.
My mom and dad had to start from scratch: new housing, new jobs, new everything. Their individual and combined rebuilding of our life as a family was not an easy task, and I do not take their hard work, commitment, and endless amount of love for granted.
Yet, I’m also so thankful to my foster mom of 25 years ago for loving, caring, advocating for, and housing my triplet sisters and me for a year while my parents picked up the pieces of their lives and glued them back together.
Today, I am a mother to a 3-year-old daughter. I know the energy, time, commitment, love, and grace it takes to raise one young child. I know the meltdowns, the lessons taught, the endless snacks asked for, the endless hugs given, and the patience to simply “deal” with it all.
If my foster mom did not take my sisters and me into her home, then I fear my first memories of life would be catastrophic and traumatic.
Instead, they are quite normal memories for a 3-year-old to have: playing outside, hiding unwanted food, and being with siblings.
This is the power foster moms and dads hold for children in the foster care system in the United States of America.
According to Children’s Bureau, An Office of the Administration for Children and Families, in 2017 on any given day, there was nearly 443,000 children in foster care in the United States. In 2017, over 690,000 children were served by the foster care system in the United States.
Yes, in a perfect world my sisters and I wouldn’t have been taken away from our parents and put in the foster care system. As we know, this world and the people inhabiting it are far from perfect.
I not only thank my foster mom of 25 years ago, but all the hard-working, loving, kind, committed, caring, faithful foster moms and dads who bravely came before her and after her.
You are providing a safe haven for children from all different backgrounds, of all different ages, struggling with different traumas and experiences.
Your love does not go unnoticed through the eyes of someone who has been in the foster care system. Your love does not go unnoticed through the eyes of a child wondering what happened to her family.
It was partly because of my foster mom that my first memories of life are quite normal, but it is also partly because of my foster mom that the billions of memories afterward are spent happily as a family with my biological mom, dad, and sisters.
Author’s note: This is only one perspective of foster care, and I know there is still a lot of work to do across the country in terms of providing services and helping children in the best ways possible. I understand my story is an outlier compared to most children/siblings who enter the foster care system. However, that doesn’t make my story less important. It means we need to keep advocating for vulnerable children who need love, support, and a chance at a better life.
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