St. George, UT
When it comes to foster care, there are a lot of complexities to each individual’s experience, from the kind of placement you’re in, to the kind of mental health struggles that you might be facing. It’s important to remember that each person that enters the foster care system is treated as an individual and is given the kind of respect that every human being deserves.
I was adopted into a transracial family at birth and was raised by them most of my early childhood. During my adolescence, I started to struggle a lot with my identity and my mental health. I had to be placed back into the foster care system. During this time, I was never placed with a foster family, and instead, was placed into mental health and residential programs. During that time in those programs, I was never able to express myself as an individual and was constantly being stripped away of everything that made me unique.
The 24-hour-a-day breakdown of my mental health was constantly performed by medical professionals who thought that I needed to be someone that they wanted me to be. The thought of never having a voice for myself was slowly being diminished on a daily basis. Being overmedicated, and mentally and psychically abused, I thought I was never going to go anywhere in life. Although I knew that I didn’t want to stay at these places, I was never given the correct kind of support to help me leave. After years of being institutionalized, I was finally able to find my voice and leave.
Growing up, I was always an outgoing person. I was involved a lot with various performing groups and was always putting myself out there. I would have never thought that I would be in an environment where I was not able to be social and be myself. So when it came to entering the foster system, my life was completely turned around. The idea of learned helplessness was super critical in my development. I was able to overcome these barriers and finally was able to find myself.
The importance of finding yourself and having someone to help support and advocate for you is so integral to your growth as a person. Having a strong support system and people in your life that respect you no matter what you’ve been through, while validating you at the same time, is so important in our lives. When you allow people to do what they want to do, you can ultimately see what they would rather do.