Written By A Current Resident
A wise person once told me not to be a byproduct of my circumstances, but to let my circumstances be a byproduct of me. At the time, I did not listen; I failed to realize that this advice would be the only thing I could think about in my darkest moments. A lot of things have happened to me in the short 17 years I have been alive. I have overcome a lot of obstacles, but I like to think about it as if I am in a race and I must jump hurdles to get to the final goal. Success to me means you have accomplished everything you dreamed of.
One of the biggest things that has shaped me is being placed into foster care when I was 15 years old. Everyone always says that “God does everything for a reason,” and I think the reason I went through what I went through is to learn who I truly am. Foster care sometimes gets a bad reputation, but what people don’t realize is that it is an opportunity to improve yourself and your situation. In my case, I decided to take my past circumstances and let that be my motivation for success. I persevered through it and I excelled.
My first day of foster care they took me to a place called Epworth Children’s Home. When my caseworker first told me where I was going, I didn’t respond well. My exact words were “I will not be like the little orphan Annie”. When I finally reached the cottage, I first met a lady named Ms. Logan. She offered me a Gatorade and some chips. In my head, I thought “Why would I want chips, look where I am at.” In my first few months at Epworth I was a very antisocial person. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the staff and other residents, I just didn’t know them. Once I got over that and talked to them, I found a family.
Epworth has really shaped me as a person. As I opened up, I saw a huge difference in myself. I started to care about things that I never cared about, like school. Epworth gave me the opportunity to go to one of the best schools in Richland One, Dreher High School, where I found my passion for music. I always had a love for music, but it was deepened through the experiences I had at Dreher and my music teacher. I also grew a lot. I blossomed from a childish little 15-year-old into a strong, ambitious 17 year old. Epworth offered me the support system that I never knew I needed to succeed and grow, support I now know that I craved before ever entering foster care.
Perseverance is persistence in something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. I think I fit that definition perfectly. I went to high school and no matter what was going on in my personal life I still managed to make it on the Honor Roll every quarter. I became a part of the National Honor Society, I took on various activities in church and on campus, and I still managed to succeed no matter what. Once Epworth gave me the opportunity to find a place to put my anger and frustration, I found that I can finally feel my feelings without letting them take over my life.
Foster care has really shaped me into the person I am today. It helped me find my passion for music and the strength to know that tomorrow will be better. As a young teenager I always tried to put foster care behind me, but as I look back now, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It gave me the tools to grow into a strong woman who is going to succeed, no matter what.