I was abused by the adults in my life in every way. I was manipulated by these very same people. My abuse went on for years without any real relief. The teachers, police officers, and neighbors never rescued me. I dreamed of having loving parents. As I pretended this was one big nightmare after another, I wanted to be rescued. I was taken away twice by the Illinois Department and Children Services. The second time for good. I thought I was being rescued by the foster care system, but that was only the beginning. That is really where my journey begins. I would have to journey to many foster homes with the hope of finding one that would be permanent. I found myself being manipulated and abused by the foster parents who were supposed to protect me. I was ignored and left alone with no understanding of what was going on from day to day. I had no one to talk to about the feelings and the trauma I had experienced and still was. I found the foster care system to be like a systematic journey that never stopped. There was no one to reach out to for help. I heard the phrase, "In the Best Interest of the Child." I was a child, but I found my interest didn't matter in a system full of children with nowhere to go. I was just another number in the long lost log in the most heartless system. I was left just like many children who are left to just linger until they age out.
I only found relief in my writing. I started writing fantasy stories at the age of seven. These were stories totally made up, in which I found a loving family. Everything was always happy with a magical ending. They were a far cry from what was really happening in my young life. Eventually these stories allowed me to write the more realistic ones about what was really going on in my life. I was able to write about what I could not speak of to the adult people in my life. These stories helped me survive foster care. When it got hard for me to cope, I would just fly away to a different place. I think a lot of children tend to do this who are being abused. So, throughout the frustration, anger, fear, and sadness, I found a way to motivate myself to keep hope alive.These are my experiences of my journey in foster care. I found a way to survive.
When I found the strength, I wanted to share all the stories of journeying through the foster care system. So, before I finished college I put some of the stories together in a watered down version called, In the Innocent Eyes of a Child, (2004). I rushed through the book, changed names, ages, places, and masked all my emotions. The book was an emotional roller coaster for me. I was told to not put certain abuses in the book because of the backlash, so I didn't. The truth is, I just wasn't ready to talk about what I went through. I needed more time. So, I waited until I was done with college and earned a few degrees. It was really important for me to finish college. I missed so much school while in the foster care system, that I was so jealous of the other kids who took it for granted. In most cases, foster children who are in temporary placements are denied the right to go to a public school. This appeared to be the case for many foster children a lot of the time. This is why I loved going to the library to read. I got more education at the library than just sitting around listening to girls fight.
I didn't spend many endless hours writing these books to shut down the thought of foster care. I would rather the system wasn't needed, but since we aren't at that point--we have to help the children in the system. I don't condemn the foster care system itself. I look at the people who are in charge of this very sensitive and vulnerable group of children. I thank the good foster parents out there for doing the great job they do. The bad foster parents get prestige for what they do and not how they do it. While the good foster parents who don't get much prestige at all. They are usually the ones who get stuck in the red tape of trying to protect the children in their care. This isn't the way it should be. Things have to change.
My motive for writing these books for the book series was all about helping the abused children and foster children. This is especially true for the children who never found love in the foster care system. Many children just get trapped in this kind of living. My goal was clear as I heard the endless stories of other children being abused by their biological and foster parents that a reform was needed. I didn't care if I sold one copy of the book. The only thing I wanted to do was get the books out there--one by one to the public. I wanted to create a positive stage for those who wanted to talk about the foster care system. This is a discussion that is way overdue for the thousands of children who have grown up in the foster care system over the years. I wanted to create a safe haven for everyone to come together to discuss what it's like to be a foster child. Our experiences, both bad and good, can create healing power and change. I wanted to bring together children, parents, foster parents, local, state, and federal officials so that everyone can work together to bring a brighter future for all children living in the same circumstances I did. We have been silenced far too long, but we will be silenced no more.
I wanted to use my books to create a Children's Movement Initiative. This is to create awareness to parenting, social barriers, child abuse, poverty, discrimination, racism, and the inpact of foster care on a child. Children's experiences will last them a lifetime, whether negative or positive. A life full of positive loving experiences will create the ability to pass that on to their children. Negative experiences where a child receives no love may create hardship and the inability to connect while developing trusting relationships. Our childhood creates the path for all future relationships and has such an impact. Let's promote more kindness and love for all of our children, so that when they go into society as adults, they can pass it on to everyone. Pay it forward. It's time to reform the foster care system for the sake of all children for a brighter future.
I am thankful to have met some mentors over the years. I introduced Magillo and Magic in this first book. Magic gave me the first stepping stone to find my voice. It was deep down inside at first, but eventually I was able to find my full voice, I was able to take the mask off and express my true self. I truly was a vulnerable little girl who was in a lot of pain.I was stuck though, in the moment of young childhood when I just got lost. I couldn't find my way back, so there was no moving forward or backward. So, I just built the wall back up to protect myself. I lost the ability to trust because every adult in my life had let me down. Readers will see more of this unfold in the next book in the series. All Magic gave me was attention, time, love, and kindness. I will introduce Magnificent, Majestic, and Magnesto in the coming books. Overtime, I found my voice, strength, and a way to move forward. I found a way to forgive, heal, and survive.