No Ordinary Life for No Ordinary Liz (Repost)

LIFE is…

  • getting lost and finding your way
  • failing and making mistakes
  • learning to find your own path
  • following your heart
  • learning to forgive
  • finding your purpose
  • letting go and trusting
  • learning to forgive
  • being kind
  • BEAUTIFUL

I truly believe that your life is already planned out for you before you are born.  Each of us are unique in our own way and we all have our own reasons as to why we are placed in each other’s lives strategically.  I’ve come to believe that people travel in and out of your lives for a certain reasons.  You may not know at the time, but there’s always a purpose for it.  PURPOSE…now there’s a word that was my shadow for years.  YEARS…I was questioning…WHO AM I?!?!

National-Adoption-Month (Photo Credit: Google)

November is National Adoption Month a month set aside to particular focus on the adoption of children currently in foster care.  I really think it’s important that while we take this time to give THANKS for what we are grateful for, we also take the time to THANK every individual who has extended a hand to care for a child in need, without those “kind” people, these children wouldn’t have the guidance they need.  Looking for ways to get involved?  Eckerd can guide you along they way.  

CaptureA (photo credit: Google/melanieinboston.com)

Internships are stepping-stones.  They provide real world experiences for students transitioning from academic to professional careers. I know all about transitions.  As a child, I transitioned from Spain to America and then one placement to another, never knowing a sense of stability or a sense of belonging. Then, at the age of 18, I transitioned from ward of the court to emancipated adult.  The transition from dependent child to independent adult could have done me in, as I have seen it do others like me, but I vowed to overcome it, to thrive, no matter what.

I barely remember arriving in the United States, although I think I was 5 years old at the time and I know I didn’t speak a lick of English.  My brother, sister and I was escorted by a man whom dropped us off at his mother’s house in NC and vanished forever.

Liz

I was 13 years old that wonderful summer day.  My brother, sister and I were picking away at blackberry bushes by the road when the neat business lady arrived.  She was there to take us into DSS custody.  At that point, my sister and I had lost contact with my brother.  He had gone in one direction while my sister and I went in another.  I didn’t even get to hug him goodbye.  The last image I had of my brother was that of his wailing, crying and struggling to reach towards me through the rear window of the car that drove him away that day, out of my life forever.  Initially, my sister and I ended up at a group home, where we shared our own private bedroom.  After a week, DSS placed us with a foster family that warehoused children, or so that’s what it had seemed.  From here on out, I really didn’t know what was going on.  Children came and went, I was going from home to home without my sister, group home to group home, in one school to another, meeting different case workers after another, and it was like a whirlwind.  I had no sense of stability.  I was looking for something…ANYTHING…I needed to bounce back.  The last bits and pieces of my reflective foster-kid family fantasies now dashed, I sunk deeper into depression.

I graduated Andrews High School June 4, 1998, turned 18 June 9th and moved into a one-bedroom apartment the next day.  I had barely more than the clothes on my back when I exited placement; no furniture, no bed, no job, no friends and no adult to guide me.  Depressed and disconnected, I fell in with the wrong crowd, who introduced me to alcohol and drugs.  I self-medicated for a while, as I tried to fit into society.  I was so scared, so confused, so alone, so traumatized by my past and so intimidated by my future.  I just wanted to belong. Oh, how I needed to feel a part of something….anything….

I still remember the pride I felt as I crossed the stage to receive my college degree, and less than a week later, I smiled so wide my face hurt, when I stood on the platform with the other interns to address the U.S. Congress.  In my wildest dreams, I could not have conceived that someone like me, a lowly orphan, would receive such an amazing honor. As the other interns responded to the question, “What one thing would you do in your state to improve the foster care system?” I could only think about how much I missed my brother and sister.  Frightened as I was, I put on my best smile and told them how important it is to keep siblings together because sometimes that is the only remaining connection to family we have left.  Not knowing who your biological mother and father are is already too much to handle, but then losing your siblings in the system destroys any remaining sense of belonging.  I am sure I stumbled over my words some, and at one point, I couldn’t see anymore, not through the tears….

(Referencing to Foster Care Review, Inc): Resilience in physics is the quality of bouncing back, the ability of a body to recover its shape after some force has changed it.  Resilience in children refers to the ability to adapt and achieve positive outcomes despite adversity. (Hard times) 

What helps you bounce back?

Just imagine with me for a moment that you think all your life you are one person, only to find out you’re not.  Everyday you’re faced with many obstacles in life.  How do you handle them? While I was bouncing back and forth to foster homes, I didn’t let it discourage me.  I let it characterize me. I went to church.  I surrounded myself with good friends.  I want to share with you my strengths as a foster child and as a young adult today.  Intelligence is one of my biggest strengths that have helped me succeed into a self-sufficient adult.  Since the day I aged out of foster care at the age of 18, I have been on my own.  I put myself through college working up to as many as five jobs at a time and taking eighteen hours of classes per week.  I’ve earned two bachelor’s degrees from WCU. You have to just embrace your past and be excited about your future!

Liz2

Sharing my story and experiences is my therapy and helps me grow each day to become a better person inside and out.  It’s my outlet.  Find your outlet. Whether it’s playing sports, performing arts, lending a helping hand, writing, getting an education, going to church, whatever it may be, continue to be strong.  Be a fighter!  Always remember to smile because it’s infectious and you never know who needs it.  No matter what pathway life has you walking down, always remember that you will be faced with adversity and obstacles.  Social competence, problem solving skills, self-sufficiency, and optimism are just a few examples of my resilience that helped me survive while being in foster care.  There are unlimited possibilities of ways to bounce back.  What are yours?

Liz Photo Speaking Event 5

Today, I can say that I have found my PURPOSE!  Speaking about my past and helping those in care to move forward is the greatest reward I can offer.  I also get to work for a Big Four Accounting Firm who enables me to be the best that I can be and allows me to chase after what I’m passionate about.  They allow me to feel confident in my PURPOSE and because of that, I’m able to help others in foster care become future leaders!  #ILOVEMYJOB!

Liz3

Thank you to ROBERT FROST for coming into my life at an early age!  Because of his famous quote, “The Road Not Taken,” I have found my way 🙂 

The Road Not Taken

BY ROBERT FROST

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
 Disclaimer: This post is written from the heart!  Some of these sentences are exerts from my story found in the powerful book by Waln Brown, titled Growing Up In The Care Of Strangers;  All opinions are my own.
Liz Photo 1
Advertisements

66 thoughts on “No Ordinary Life for No Ordinary Liz (Repost)

  1. You are a strong person! This post is very touching and not only will speaking out help you but others! I like to think or obstacles and how we overcome them will make us a better person.

  2. What a great testimony of how you overcame everything even though it was very hard on you. I hope the one day you are reunited with your sister and your brother. Thank you for sharing your life with us. You are definitely an overcomer and an achiever. Congrats on all of your education accomplishments.

  3. sicorra

    So happy to read such a positive story out of a difficult beginning. And I agree with you, it is very important to keep children together. I have no idea why they get separated, and who thinks it is a good idea for them to be separated. Congratulations on all of your achievements.

  4. Such an inspiring story! I am so happy you were able to follow your path and achieve success. What makes me even more happy is that you continue to inspire others to move forward to reach their dreams. May you be blessed even more!

  5. Oh wow, I can’t imagine what it must have been like for you as a child. It appears you’ve gown into an amazing adult and I commend you for sharing your story to help others. I hope you have or are going to be able to reconnect with your sister and brother as well.

  6. Rosey

    Your story is so heartwrenching, and I could picture your brother in the car. It’s wonderful that you’re sharing your story. I know others who have, will or know someone who is experiencing the same, could easily find this story and find comfort. That’s a wonderful thing you’re sharing.

  7. Ricci

    I think you have done amazing things with your life. Congrats to you on your college graduation and all of the opportunities that you have had after. I think you will do great things by helping foster children.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s