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Beyond the White Picket Fence

There was a little girl with blonde hair and blue eyes who was really close to her two younger siblings. They weren’t being fed at home because their mother was never there. Their father was never around either; this made her sad because, in her eyes, her father was a good person. She was so little and was in her own world she didn’t realize she didn’t have the life most kids her age should have. She would go behind her neighbor’s fence and eat dog biscuits they would leave out for raccoons. At school, she was bullied for it. The words hurt so bad she would cry ever time. Her mom and dad physically fought each other so she would hide, curl up in a ball and cry. She remembers the day when she didn’t cry. Her mother beat her with a wooden spoon but she wanted to be strong.

This little girl was me.

The day DHS showed up, they told us to go and pack some clothes in a bag and we would be going somewhere else for a little bit. We did as we were told but I had no idea what was going on. I was soon sitting down with my brother and sister eating instant mac and cheese, waiting for a woman to show up and take us to her home to stay there. I learned what foster care was and that my siblings and I were in it. My brother was eventually removed from the home separating him from us. We got to visit him whenever we’d visit our bio parents, which wasn't often.

After two years of being in this foster home, there was a family that decided that they wanted to take all three of us!

I was so happy that I would be living with my younger brother again. It was hard to adjust at first but I soon realized that this is what a family should be like, what it should feel like. My new foster family made me feel like I was one of their own, and I felt loved for once in my life. Sometimes though, my anxiety would get so bad I’d pull out my eyelashes and eyebrows. I was still super sensitive and was being bullied, but my new foster mom helped me put an end to it. She taught me how to stand up for myself, how to cope with my emotions, control my anxiety, and how to be myself.

October 27, 2010 was the day I will always remember.

My foster family decided they wanted to adopt us. For our adoption, we made t-shirts that said “yesterday was the hope” on the front and, “today is the promise” on the back. After we were adopted, the whole family celebrated at Fargo’s Pizza. I was so glad that my siblings and I had a chance for a better life. I thank God that He has placed me into this family and has gotten me to where I am today.

Foster care doesn't sound appealing to most people, but if they would take a step back and think about it, they will realize they will be changing a kid’s life forever by giving them a home and a life he or she deserves.

No kid deserves to be abused, neglected, and unloved. Yes, there will be challenges that make life a bit harder, but we got to continue to fight for these kids to have a chance for a loving family.

God has something in store for everyone, especially for these kids. Have faith in Him because He has the reins. I don’t look back about what has happened to me and let it destroy who I am. I know I am smart, strong, beautiful, and that I will never be like my biological parents. I am no longer that little girl who is starving, bullied, suffering severe anxiety, and crying about every little problem that takes place in her life.

I wouldn’t be who I am today if I was never placed in foster care.

- Shawna

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