Monday, April 2, 2007

My Adoption Story

By Lamarr Stapleton, former foster youth, New York

I was four when my brother and sisters moved in with our first foster family. It was decent. I was an A+ student. After a while, you’d forget you were in foster care. Then the agency says you have to move and the harsh reality that you’re in foster care hits you.

After we’d with the family for three years, the foster mother moved to Florida. My brother went to live with his dad, and my sisters and I were placed with a new family. My problem at the time was that I connected with people too quick. I got close to people and that was a problem when I had to leave.

Finally, my sisters and I moved in with Ms. Shirley Williams. Moving there went okay, but by then I was eight years old and I broke my habit of bonding with people quickly. Instead, I stayed close with my two sisters, the two people I knew I could count on. Things went well until my older sister went to live with her father. When we were all together, we had this chain that we were never going to break. My oldest brother was looking after my oldest sister, my oldest sister was looking after me, and I was looking after my youngest sister. After my brother and sister left, I was alone looking after my sister.

One day I just snapped and I wanted to see what it was like living on the other side of the education chain, I guess. I started skipping classes. I wasn’t smoking or drinking or anything, just school-wise, I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing.

Ms. Williams helped me turn things around. She kind of pushed me on the right path, and eventually adopted me and my sister. I thank her for opening up her family to me. I guess about two years before we got adopted, that’s when I really started opening up to her and her family. It was like I thought, ‘Okay, we’re going to get adopted. I can feel it. I might as well let them in as family now.’

I know I gave my mother a hard time, because I am a hardheaded kid. Whenever she said ‘no,’ I said ‘yes.’ But over time, I learned that when she was telling me these things, it’s to help me learn from her. Now she’s not only my parent, she is my best friend and I can talk to her. I can talk to her sons too. It’s just a cool family.

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