Our story didn't begin how you'd think. It began with a promise made to God, by a 13-year-old foster kid who, at the time, didn't actually believe in God.
When I was 13-years-old I attempted to take my own life by cutting my arms open. Why? Earlier that evening, I'd been beaten to within an inch of my life by my foster mother for forgetting to wash a utensil. That was the story of my entire young life; beatings, torture, being set on fire, raped for the first time at the age of 7, and on and on. I hated life, I hated Social Workers and I hated foster care. By the time I was 13, I decided that there was absolutely no reason for me to be breathing.
The only way that I could see to be free was through death. When you're dead, no one can beat you, no one can torture you, and no one can force themselves on you. But, God had other plans apparently. So, I sat on those steps that night, after that beating, and cried out to a God that I actually didn't believe in at the time. What God leaves a child to such unspeakable horrors?
No, I didn't believe in God, I had no reason to and that's the truth. Well, I couldn't see to cut my arms, because I was crying and shaking so hard, and the knife kept falling, so I just cried out and asked God for help. I promised him that if he allowed me to live, I would spend the rest of my time here helping and saving kids in foster care like me. No sooner had I said the words than I felt warm all over all of a sudden and my body stopped shaking and my vision cleared.
This is the part that I've never shared with anyone because people judge. They have a tendency to think you're weird. I never told anyone, because I was scared of what people would think about me when I told them what happened afterward. But, when I went to pick up the knife and take it back to the kitchen, it wasn't there. I looked and looked, but could find no knife. I'd literally just had it in my hand. I couldn't find it, so I went to bed. The next day was Sunday. I awoke to her, my foster mother, violently shaking me and I fell off the mattress. She was standing over me with a bible in one hand and the butcher knife in the other. She said to me, "I know it was you who stuck this knife in between the pages of my bible. You got no respect for God, but you will have by the time I'm done with you." I asked her where it was. She replied, " you know, you did it. stuck it right in John 3:16 and you gone work and get me a new bible." I told her I didn't do it. I knew I hadn't done it. She slapped me across the face and told me to stop lying. It took me until age 25 to understand what happened that day and why it happened. A promise made (me to God to help kids in Foster Care like me) and a promise kept (him to me when he spared my life that night).
Now you know the story and why I work as hard as I do, and why I can't stop until those doors are open and homeless youth have a forever home.
On Thursday, April 1, 2021, I received word that we are closer to making good on that promise I made to God when I was 13. Foster Care In The U.S. now has a #foreverhome. Meet 23 E. Columbia Street, Evansville, IN 47711. God thought enough of us to bless us with this home. He's helping me make good on that promise. It's going to need work. Josh Fee, the owner of Fee Construction, is overseeing the project.
This is more than just a home. Foster Care In The U.S. ETS (Exits To Success) Program is a 1-3 year program for youth. During that time, youth live in the home, full time, and have dedicated Case Management Services as well as work on everything from Life Skills Education to Financial Literacy to their GED/High School Diploma and much more. Our Forever Home is Permanent Supportive Housing and the first of its kind dedicated solely to foster care youth and young adults.
When it's complete, it will be home to homeless foster care youth and young adults who will have the one thing I myself have never, ever had or been able to achieve in my 50+ years on this earth...a forever home.
We can't do this without your support. Thank you for helping me keep my promise to God, and thank you God for believing in me and having faith in me when I had none for you. That is love absolute. A promise made, a promise kept. This is Foster Care In The U.S.