Monday, June 10, 2013

One of the ways I knew

When you are in foster care you think about where you may end up a lot.  You have a fear that you are not unlike the statistics, stigmas and standards of kids in care.  Even though I had a healthy naivete about things, and I also had a "not like them," survival stance, you still wondered.  You knew you were about one mistake away from being a statistic.  No one wants to be status quo.

So when I found myself at Freshmen Orientation at Arcadia University, I knew that I should be very proud of myself.  In fact, I was five days away from spending my first semester in Scotland.  Wait, that's not in any foster kid primer I have read.  This is beyond the line of possibility.  Studying abroad, and seeing another country is what happens to other kids.

This post isn't about what fun Scotland was, its about how I knew I was ready and safe to go.  Would I have  done well without a safety net?  Would I have felt this adventurous without knowing that I had someone to catch me if I fell?  How did I know it was okay for me to go?  Now don't get me wrong, at 18 I wasn't saying to myself, "Now I have permanency,"  I found it in a very typical moment, and after much self-reflection

Arcadia University takes pride in its Freshmen Orientation, so we started with an opening ceremony where parents and students sat and listened to our dean.  I felt a mix of emotions, but I knew that the moment was coming where students and parents would separate for their prospective workshops.  The ceremony ended, and it was time to say goodbye.  I didn't want her to go.  I was nervous about meeting new people, and I knew that this was goodbye for four months.  It was a healthy, "age-appropriate", exciting good bye.  I was sad because I would miss Lisa, and I knew that I would be on my own.

When it was time to go, both of us started tearing up.  haha.  If you know Lisa, you might know that she's not frivolous.  She doesn't waste word, thought or action.  In fact, she probably doesn't even waste a second thought thinking about this moment, because it was what it was.  However, to me, it was another sign that I had hit the jack pot.  When you're a foster kid you don't always want success, you don't always just want to make it.  You want those moments when you and your loved one are both crying because its time to say good bye, even though you know you're going to see each other again in four months, which is great because you don't always get that luxury in care either.  She was sad to see me go. She wanted me to be safe.  She wanted me to succeed, and she cared if I succeeded or failed.  She was proud of me.  I think the important one of those feelings was that she was going to miss me, and that I was not at this momentous occasion alone.

And that is one of the ways I knew :-)

Here we are in 2005!  Freshmen Orientation! (before the tears)

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