Nightmares Coming to Life

The night before, I slept extraordinarily well and as I dozed off, I experienced what seemed to be a nightmare. I dreamt about what might happen the next morning at practice. In my dream, I considered the idea that something bad was going to happen to me. A feeling of discomfort had settled in that I was for sure going to get hurt. I was thinking in my mind, that I would probably tear my ACL, break my arm, or possibly snap my leg. I had a feeling that something was going to happen to me, I just wasn’t sure what that would be.

We pulled into the school parking lot. I walked in half asleep trying to avoid anyone that could cross my path.  I trudged my way in, plopped down and started putting on my basketball shoes. My coach looked at me and hollered, “Are you awake?” I smirked and replied, “Barely”.

Everyone was sitting in a circle putting on their basketball shoes for the start of practice. This wasn’t just any practice though. It was the practice where parents were allowed to come watch as everyone was scrimmaging. We started out with warm ups so that we could treat it like it was a game. The first warm up we did was forwards jogging and then moved straight to backwards jogging. As it continued, we switched to whatever our coach told us to do. Then we started layups and after that, went to shoot and stretch. I stood on the sideline as the matchup started. It was white against blue. Who was going to win? Tweet! The game started at an instant. The girls who were playing were the people who were going to start Varsity and the people who were going to play Varsity but not start. They were running back and forth after what seemed like hours. Tweet! I was caught off guard at the sound of the whistle. “Subs!” Our coach hollered to us. It was my turn to go in. It was my first time playing a basketball game as a high schooler in front of parents.

Every time I would get the ball, and I was open I would shoot. The majority of them were misses. Suddenly, I went up with a shot. Everyone was looking like it would be a tie breaker. It felt like the ball was moving in slow motion. Swish. Just kidding. It was the exact opposite sound. Everyone heard a thud on the ground. Airball. I was thinking, oh well, it’s not like everyone saw it. Tweet! “Let’s take a quick drink break.” You could hear sighs of relief as there were about 20 of us panting as hard as we could because all of us were out of shape.

After the break, we started back up again. I was once again back on the sideline waiting anxiously to be able to go back in. I just kept watching in admiration of the older girls. I wished that I could be as good as them. I kept watching and cheering on my team. Tweet! Yes! It was finally time to go back in. I was thinking that I really needed to make up for all my airballs. I was sprinting down the court to get on offense. I was playing wing at that time. The pass that was meant for me had been deflected. The ball went out of bounds. Our ball on the baseline. We passed it in and someone made a shot. It was the other team’s ball. We got a steal. We were running back down the court. I was running at full speed. The ball was flying down the court. I was going to get it. I was going to get a layup. I kept running and running. Wham. “Ahhhhh. I think it’s my toof.” I pulled my hands up to my mouth to see if there was any blood. There was no blood but as I pulled my hands away, I saw it laying there so pure and clean, my tooth.

My sister had sprinted over to me to make sure I was okay. She kept saying I was fine and that everything will be okay. She got me up and we started walking into the trainers room. I was full of emotion. The first few things I said were, “Now I can’t eat my Mexthican food tonight. And my smile won’t be pretty anymore.” Everyone started laughing as tears were draining out of my eyes. Everyone felt bad so they started assuring me I was going to be fine, and that my smile wasn’t going to be ruined. Many hours later, after an emergency root canal, a fake tooth, and having a tooth popped back into place, they proved to be right.

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Memories that Last Forever

Katrina Staab

Mrs. Jank

5 April 2017

English 2

Memories that Last Forever

“You aren’t loved, and you never will be.”

Those may not be the exact words that were said, however he showed them with the actions he used against my brothers and my mom.

Joe, my biological dad, often used his actions to harm us. He wasn’t fit to be a parent. It wasn’t until my brother Travis went to school with a black eye that someone finally called the police on Joe. I refuse to call him my dad because all he did was hurt the people around me that loved and cared for me. It was hard to be forced to see my loved ones in pain. It was also scary seeing someone do that to the people that I cared about without being able to do anything about it. The only thing I still clearly remember were the screams of pain and agony coming from my mom and my brothers. As well as, police sirens and lights showing up on a regular basis.

I was a young, cute, little girl. Nobody wanted to harm me. However, seeing my loved ones in pain will continue to be an experience I never want to relive. That experience alone hurt me. It also, effects with the way I see relationships now in my life.

My mom was so dependent of someone in her life that she couldn’t leave him. Because of this, my siblings and I had to be put in the foster system. Our mom loved us, but she couldn’t do what was right to take care of her children. I moved to two foster homes before I was adopted. However, my brothers had to experience many other places that effected the way that they will see people around them for the rest of their lives. They had to deal with many different people coming into their lives which makes them take their relationships for granted because they didn’t have the same people continually giving them love. I notice in my relationship with them that they don’t know who wants to show them love and who wants to make them feel unloved. However, with the experience that I had in foster care, I didn’t feel the love that I now experience. I was able to learn who was going to love me through it all and who was faking it. I now don’t take my relationships for granted because I have been put in some difficult experiences.

I still remember many experiences where the police came and punished my brothers for things that they didn’t even do. That happens to be one of the largest reasons why I am so afraid of police to this day. Every time I see one, I shut down. I want to cry because of all the bad memories I have with them. Other instances when I didn’t feel loved included of the times when my foster family didn’t allow me to stay hydrated after a certain time. This made me extremely thirsty and in need of water. I stole the cup from the fridge that was stopping a leak and took it to a bathroom and drank from the toilet because I couldn’t reach the sink. Another time included when I had to go to the emergency room to get my eyebrow glued closed because I got scratched by their cat, but they told the hospital that it was my fault because I was up past my bedtime and I fell off the top bunk. However, I slept on the bottom bunk.

These experiences have made an impact on who I am today because they have helped me determine who I should shut out of my life because they will be bad for who I am. Although I still have many situations that make me feel vulnerable, I work through them because these situations have made me a stronger person. It has taught me to be strong because I have been through bad situations that not very many people have. I also have had to stay strong for my brothers because they have experienced the worse end of this situation. All of this gives a story that can encourage people to just keep going because it can get better. I was given a family who loves me and wants nothing bad to happen to me.

One thing I have done to try to overcome this adversity is, the fact that I wrote a letter to my biological grandma to try to track down my mom to get answers. I haven’t gotten all my answers yet, but I will learn more to help me understand why this happened. I may not have completely overcome this, but it has gotten much better than when I was a little girl. I will continue to receive answers, which will help me cope with the events that happened in my past. I also thank God every day that it happened because if it didn’t I wouldn’t be blessed with everything that I have. I am now stronger and have many experiences that will help me to keep going in the future. I now know that I have many people who love me and care about me. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for this happening. Sometimes it really isn’t fun how I’m not able to see my brothers and tell them everything I’m thinking, but if it weren’t for this experience I wouldn’t have a loving family who cares for me and loves me for who I am.

Youths in the Foster System

Katrina Staab

Mrs. Jank

English 10

10 February 2017

Youths in the Foster System

People who age out of the foster system, are seen as disposable to this day. Today, “more than 25,000 people age out of the foster system” (On Their Own 161) because they became of age to not be cared for anymore. These children can face having to move to many different homes in their life. They move not because their parents are securing new jobs, but because they have to switch families in the system to try find a forever home. These children are left to fend for themselves while being provided with no money, receiving little to no healthcare, and gaining support emotionally.

Youths that are coming to the age of “aging out,” gain no money to help support their basic needs. These youths often struggle to find food, shelter, and other basic needs without financial support. Unfortunately, “Many live on the streets, lack the money to meet basic living expenses, fail to maintain regular employment, are involved with the criminal justice system, are unable to obtain health care, and experience early pregnancies” (Reilly, Thorn 727), which makes it even harder to gain the money that they need to support themselves, and maybe even a child. These youths are likely to live under these terms, because they have no access to money to buy nice clothes for interviews, they have no money to pay for housing, and are likely to steal items that they need, because they aren’t being provided for what they used to receive while in foster care. Even the people with special needs, receive hardly any money to help pay for any medical help that they need. One challenging way to gain money can be through, “the SSI program [which] provides payments to people with low income who are aged, blind, or disabled and who meet strict eligibility rules.” (King et al 54). There can be a way to gain money through the program however, the process can be challenging. People with disabilities have to learn to live on their own, with no money which could be given to them through funds however, funds are used for other groups of people that are seen as more important. Many youths that have to go through this with a disability, “face the sudden loss of financial support when they age out of the system and many must find an alternative source of support.” (King et al 53).” Although, they are given the opportunity to apply to receive the SSI, a little amount of the people meet the requirements to gain the financial support.

On another topic, these youths are at a high risk of having to live homeless, unemployed, and at risk with the law. These people aren’t taught how to live in a way that will help support them because, they weren’t taught it in the foster system, especially with having to switch foster homes multiple times. Many of these people have, “portray[ed]’ largely unhappy endings of sudden homelessness, unemployment, dead-end jobs, loneliness, and despair.” (On Their Own 161). They are like this because they have a less stable environment to live in with having to switch homes several times.

Furthermore, once these youths age out of the foster system, healthcare can be hard to access. Many people that have aged out are in need of help with their health and are not able to receive the help they need. Many youths experience health issues and have “reported serious health care problems—30% had had a serious health problem since leaving care, 32% needed health care and could not obtain it, and 55% had no type of health insurance,” (Reilly, Thorn 736). This shows that many people are in need of healthcare that are aged out of the system however, they don’t receive the help due to the fact that not easily accessible. They are not given the help they need because they have no money and nobody is willing to help them if they don’t have money.

Another way that shows that healthcare isn’t easily accessible, is due to the fact that these youths have more complex needs need such as, disabilities and illnesses that are not easily curable, which makes it even harder to gain access to healthcare. The harder the case is, the less likely people are willing to help out. “Adolescents in foster care have complex health care needs that call for more intensive and comprehensive services compared to those not in foster care.” (Lopez et al 345). The fact that they need more intensive care, makes them less likely to receive help because they know it will be more expensive. These youths are less likely to ask for help or receive help, because they have no money, along with having no way to contact people to ask for help from.

Another way that the many youths who have aged out are seen as disposable is that they gain no emotional support to make it through the difficult time that they have to deal with. They are left with no one to care for them, as well as help them make important life decisions. A young man was interviewed on the radio to share what his experience with the foster system was. During his interview, he shared a speech that he wrote to the foster system in general. He shares his opinion with them saying, “It’s bittersweet because I’m losing guaranteed stipends for food and housing, as well as access to my social workers and my lawyer. But on the other hand, I’m relieved to finally get away from a system that ultimately failed me on its biggest promise. That one day it would find me a family who would love me.” (After 20 Years). He shared that he also gave up on the foster system by the time that he was around 12 because he knew that once he hit that certain age, no one would be looking to adopting him into their family. He shows that many people in the system are seen as disposable because once they hit that certain age, they are given up on because not many people want to adopt teenagers.

Many people who have recently exited the system, have been seen as having unhappy ending because they weren’t ever helped once they exited the system. They “portray largely unhappy endings of sudden homelessness, unemployment, dead-end jobs, loneliness, and despair.” (On Their Own 161). They don’t have a support system to help the through the many trials they will have once they are dropped into the real world all alone with no help emotionally or financially. They aren’t helped which can lead them to be depressed and have those unhappy endings occur because they don’t have anyone there to help them through the hard time that they are facing.

Another way that these youths are seen as disposable, is the fact that they are usually only seen as ‘just a number’. During Noel Anaya’s speech, he shares, “Little things, like when my judge Shawna Schwarz mispronounces my name, serve as a constant reminder that, “Hey, I’m just a number.” (After 20 Years). The people that have to deal with his case see the scenario and the youth as just numbers, because that is what they have been told to do. When they are talking to the youth, they don’t show respect. As Noel said, the people who were supposed to be on his side, helping him, saw him as just a number.

In addition, these youths gain no emotional support, is that they have nobody to encourage him or her to continue throughout school. Many youths who were once in foster care, drop out of high school because no one was there to help them want to make that step in life. Studies have shown that, “Educational achievement escapes many of these youth, with completion rates of high school as low as 34%.” (Reilly, Thorn 728). These youths don’t have anyone to encourage him or her to stick with it. The normal for them, is to just drop out of school, which makes them not receive jobs as easily.

All in all, youths who have experienced the foster system are seen as disposable. They don’t receive any money to help them cover any expenses that they might have. They hardly ever gain health care due to them not meeting the regulations set to allow them to gain a little bit of money which won’t help them with how expensive the treatment can be. They also, have no emotional support to make it through hard times. These youths are seen as disposable, because they are seen as people who don’t need help, or they aren’t noticed because not many people know much about the foster system.

Works Cited

“After 20 Years, Young Man Leaves Foster Care On His Own Terms.” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2017. <http://www.npr.org/2017/01/11/508608745/after-20-years-young-man-leaves-foster-care-on-his-own-terms&gt;.

King, Laura, and Aneer Rukh-Kamaa. “Youth Transitioning Out Of Foster Care: An Evaluation Of A Supplemental Security Income Policy Change.” Social Security Bulletin 73.3 (2013): 53. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.

“On Their Own: What Happens To Kids When They Age Out Of The Foster Care System.” Journal Of Social Work Education 41.1 (2005): 161. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.

Lopez, Patricia, and Patricia Jackson Allen. “Addressing The Health Needs Of Adolescents Transitioning Out Of Foster Care.” Pediatric Nursing 33.4 (2007): 345-355. Consumer Health Complete. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.

Reilly, Thorn. “Transition From Care: Status And Outcomes Of Youth Who Age Out Of Foster Care.” Child Welfare 82.6 (2003): 727. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 13 Jan. 2017.

 

Young Man Leaves Foster Care On His Own Terms

One of my sources is the NPR broadcast of After 20 Years, “Young Man Leaves Foster Care On His Own Terms.” The main idea of this is what really happens in foster care. It talks about the real way that he was treated. He wasn’t treated very well inside and outside of the system. He didn’t feel loved by anyone. He was ready to leave to get away from the people that had treated him poorly all of those years that he was in the foster care system. He was also scared because he didn’t know what it would be like in the real world. I will use this source to show a real experience of what it was like for him while he was in foster care, as well as what is going to happen as he ages out of the system into having to care for himself with no help

On Their Own: What Happens To Kids When They Age Out Of The Foster Care System

One of my sources is called, “On Their Own: What Happens To Kids When They Age Out Of The Foster Care System.” The main idea of this source is what the process is when it comes time for the person to age out of the foster system. It shows that there is nothing given to the person. They aren’t supported in any way. They have to try to make sure that they aren’t getting into any trouble even though they weren’t necessarily taught better. This also shows that these people are likely to drop out of high school as soon as the become of age to age out because they don’t have anyone to support them to finish their homework and to do well in school. I will use this to prove that they aren’t given anything and because of that, they don’t succeed and are seen as disposable.

Addressing The Health Needs Of Adolescents Transitioning Out Of Foster Care.

One of my sources is called “Addressing The Health Needs Of Adolescents Transitioning Out Of Foster Care.” The main idea is how the people get health care needs and how they are supported until the time of them having to age out. I think this information will help me a lot because it talks about how little health care is actually given to the people who age out. They are left with nothing. They don’t get much health care and it is still expensive. This source shows that it is very hard to get help financially and medically once you have aged out. This article also shows evidence that they are seen as disposable because of the main point of it being that foster children who have aged out don’t get very much support.

 

Transition From Care: Status And Outcomes Of Youth Who Age Out Of Foster Care.

One of my sources is called, “Transition From Care: Status And Outcomes Of Youth Who Age Out Of Foster Care.” The main idea that the author is giving, is that foster children that age out of the system have no money and no support making it extremely hard to live in the world with nobody to love them. I think this information will help me complete this paper, because it gives reasoning that these people may be seen as disposable simply because of the laws of the people who age out of the foster system. Also, this shows how the foster children aren’t able to have stable environments because nobody is willing to love and take care of these kids.