What if you could see the impact of helping out a child, a foster kid? Wouldn’t that be powerful?!
A Foster Kid
Well, it’s possible! I have the privilege of meeting an amazing lady and now so do you! After starting my website, I found a gift. I began to meet incredible people who had been in the foster system. Marilee of Kitchen Vixxen is one of these. She is a survivor to some unfortunate events that happen in her life. And she beat the odds! Pretty much blew them all out of the water, really. See the odds here in #3!
So I want to have a “Foster Fridays” segment. When I meet a foster kid and he or she will share their story, I will share it to encourage you:
- Those interested in Fostering/Adopting
- Those who are Fostering
- Those who adopt
- Everyone who wants to hear an encouraging perspective!
Today we meet Marilee! She will be sharing for the next 3 weeks on her life and how her Foster family helped her through some opportunities during difficult times. You are going to really grow and learn as a person…I have.
Moving Into Foster Care
The first time I went into foster care, I was about 11 or 12 years old in my second year of 6th grade. I had flunked 6th grade the year before thinking I didn’t have to do any of my schoolwork because they would just pass me anyways. Well, obviously I found out I was wrong.
My mother was a single parent, raising a daughter all on her own. My mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at some point in her life. I’m not sure if it was before or after I was born, but I suspect it was after. It didn’t help that I had also been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. The two of us together didn’t make for a very functional family as one would suspect.
My mother suffered a nervous breakdown one day that presented itself like a seizure. I remember having to call 911 to get her to the hospital. My mother’s sister, my aunt, decided to send me to Oklahoma to live with my grandmother who was willing to take care of me at the time. I had never been outside of California before, and I quickly found out what it meant to be homesick once I got there. My grandmother tried to enroll me in school, but I refused to go, being the ornery child that I was. After five weeks with my grandmother I came back to California. However, when I came back, it wasn’t to stay with any of my family. My Uncle was gay, and had been with his partner for a very long time. They knew nothing about taking care of a child, let alone one with ADD/ADHD. My aunt’s husband wasn’t particularly fond of the idea of taking me in after having dealt with my mother before.
The Grace of Life
I remember when I was in the fourth grade, my Mom had convinced my aunt and uncle to take me in for the school year. I was a foster kid, but not wishing the system because my mom arranged this with family. They had enrolled me in the private school along with my cousins, long enough for me to get my uniforms and take a class picture before she came and kidnapped me in the middle of the night and took me back home. They told me later on that she had done that because she couldn’t stand being away from me.
When I came back to California, a Christian couple took me in along with their three children, along with a couple of older foster children. It turned out that I had known the foster father’s mother since I was in second grade. She was the secretary at my elementary school who had given me my ADD medication everyday at the same time. It helped me a little having known her as well as I did. We still talk to this day and laugh about the problem child that I was, and believe me there are stories!
My foster parents were not the kind of people who take care of foster kids for the money. I didn’t feel like a foster kid. They had a modest house with bunk beds in every room. The furniture throughout the house was second-hand furniture that didn’t match in any way. Our food came from the WIC program, and our clothing from Kmart. We didn’t have a TV, and the Christmas tree was made from wrapping paper taped to the wall. In spite of all the things we did not have, our time was spent at church with other children from the community. My foster-mother was a stay at home mom when I stayed with them the first time. My foster-father was a teacher at the local junior high school. They’re whole life revolved around the church and children. I stayed with my foster family for 6 months by the time I finally went back to my mother’s care. I stayed in touch and saw my foster parents regularly through church activities, which they had kept me involved in.
My mother was a well-respected accountant, having held some good jobs with some good companies. She often tutored people to take their CPA Exams so they could move further in their careers. While she was tutoring everyone to take their exams, she had never taken the exams herself. Had she done so, I only imagine how successful she would have been. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to keep things together due to her bipolar disorder. She often had a hard time keeping food on the table and a roof over our heads.
The Deepness and Difficulty of Life
My mother managed to keep things together for about a year once I came back to her. We were living in a double wide trailer home with a roommate on the outskirts of Desert Hot Springs. My room was the den without any privacy. One evening, in late March, I was in the living room talking to a boy on the phone. My mother had come out of her room and told me she wanted to talk to me. Being the prissy pre-teen that I was, I told her no and continued to talk on the phone. My mother went back to her room for about 15 minutes before she came back out. This time she hung up my call at the receiver and told me we needed to talk once again. I was upset with her, and probably said some choice words to her as well. She waited for me to finish when she told me that she had just taken a bunch of pills in an effort to end her life. She said she was leaving it up to me whether to call 911 or not, and then went back to her room to lie down. I was 13 at the time. I immediately called my foster-mother and told her what happened. Being a foster kid had advantages. She said she would come over and to call 911. She arrived about a minute before the paramedics arrived, which I had thought was so fast considering they lived on the opposite side of town from us. The paramedics tended to my mom and eventually took her to the hospital. Once they had left, I called my aunt to tell her what happened and where I was going that night. By the time my mother arrived at the hospital she had fallen into a coma, and remained that way for 2 weeks. My aunt came down the next day and checked into a hotel.
The next two weeks would forever change and shape the life of Marilee.
Inspiration seems to always come with difficulty. Here is our book on Kindle or hard copy to encourage you through life. “How Our Family Survived…”
Next week we will hear from Marilee on the way she copes as a young adult as a Foster Kid.