Circumstances

How Foster Care Affects me as an Adult Today

Reading this probably won’t change your life. I have no advice to offer, and even if I do, the world today is actually quite different than it was 20 years ago when these were my circumstances. If I were forced, right now, to claim that this story contains a message of hope, that message would read:

“If I can become part of the status quo, so can you!”

I’m afraid that is the best I can offer at the moment. I currently have $85,000 in student loan debt. I have problems with motivation, impulse control and…

Ask for guidance on how to proceed. Ask for guidance in formulating your intention in the first place. There may be nothing magical to the result. I ask spirit for guidance, I receive information that informs my decisions, I make a decision and I attribute part of the result to spirit’s guidance (which is really just me asking)…so maybe Spirit is a question; her symbol a giant questions mark.

…staying focused.

Growing up, I never knew if I was going to be staying where I was or…actually…I mostly knew I would be going, and so, I learned early on to never get comfortable. This makes forming healthy attachments with people difficult. Why bother connecting when I’ll never see you again?  Up until very recently, it truly never occurred to me to even consider anyone else, largely because I was very pre-occupied with my own survival. As a result, I am not as practiced at forming and developing healthy relationships as I would like to be. This affects all relationships, but I can see specifically how it affects my romantic relationships.

Through recent hard times and probably too much introspection, I have discovered that no matter how much I think I want to maintain an intimate/romantic relationship, I will eventually begin doing things to make my partner question the security of the relationship. To make him feel as uncertain and unstable as I felt during my formative years.

Dissociation

When I say “as I felt during my formative years”, I don’t mean to suggest that I was aware of any of my feelings at the time. I don’t remember ever paying attention to how I felt about anything.  I certainly never considered any possible future implications of my circumstances. Memories of most of my childhood are fuzzy, but I’m sure I didn’t consider myself very different from anyone else. Then again, I really never knew anyone well enough to allow for any accurate comparison. Sadly, constant change left me very isolated, and also unaware of my isolation.

My adolescence was tightly tied in with the bureaucratic machinations of local governments. It means something when they say you are a “ward of the state”, and it’s certainly nothing glamorous. To make things interesting for myself, I began to fantasize that I lived in some sort of “La Femme Nikata” scenario.

On at least two occasions, very early on in my experience as a newly labeled “Ward of the State of Pennsylvania – Delinquent”, I was taken to undergo psychological testing. Once we visited a nearby university, and on another occasion we went to the big city of Pittsburg, PA. The university was, of course, full of neatly dressed academic professionals.  In the city, people had a quickness to their step that made them seem more official than any of the local folks who inhabited the  rural areas, where I had spent most of my life.

The fact that smart, official-looking people seemed interested in my psychological makeup, and spent several hours with me, made me feel important (maybe for the first time). This added just enough realism to my nascent coping fantasy to give it a good foothold, and legs to run with. “There must be something special about me”, I began to think, “and it’s probably that I am a spy”.

I became special in my own mind. Any emotional pain I experienced over my inability to connect with anyone disappeared from my day-to-day awareness. I had some very special mission, and too many important things to do to be bothered with establishing close ties. This fantasy served me quite well over the next few years. During that time I traveled through no less than seven foster homes. Add to that at least two group living facilities for children, and one very special boot camp, designed to set the incorrigible on the right path. Or possibly, to train future spies.

2 thoughts on “Circumstances

  1. I enjoy your writing. You are on a very unique journey. I am honored to have known you, Nicole. I hope you are safe; I wish you happiness, beautiful girl.
    Dan (Tucson)

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