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"Without being vulnerable, and without loving yourself, the world inside and outside of foster care is very lonely."

Philomena Anne shares #HerStory:

"The most challenging part of my experience was struggling with my innate connection to my biological mother. Visitation with her was confusing and hard. After seeing her for short periods of time I could not adjust or adapt. I disliked and feared her but still loved her. Losing her again and again was the most painful part and I felt very guilty. I also struggled finding that anchor we all need. I never felt I belonged anywhere and even in a home, I never grew attached to places, things or people.

When I was emancipating from the foster care system, I needed someone to tell me that what happened was not my fault. I think guilt or shame held me back a lot.

While in the system, I saw other foster siblings struggle with drug and alcohol problems and that gave me the ability to avoid those pitfalls. Loneliness and fear sends a lot of foster children down a dark path. I was blessed not to struggle with those temptations. It gave me the ability to empathize and be grateful for small victories. You have to be very unselfish as a foster child and be thankful for things many other kids and adults take for granted.

My advice would be to go ahead and be vulnerable to developing close friendships with positive people. I was always afraid to rely too much on the friendships I did develop. Do not isolate or push good people away."

Foster Nation