“They locked me in a room with my father and his therapist, and some dog breeder who had brought a puppy with her. They tried to bribe me into talking and hugging my father who had violently physically abused my mother and I for several years.
If I complied they let me hold the dog, if I didn't, they took it away.
Stuck in a custody battle between a loving mother that couldn't support me and an abusive father with financial means, the State was eager to close our case, regardless of our well-being. After two years of refusing visits with my father I was forced into therapy with him. Several people argued against placing us with him, but the judge gave him custody of my two younger brothers and placed me with his parents. As soon as our cases were closed, he went right back to abusing us. Each of us left on our 18th birthdays.
Don't get me wrong, my experience in foster care wasn't great but it didn't compare to my home life. The system taught me that the good people don't always win when they should, but that doesn't mean you give up and stop fighting for them. It's harder to fight for what's right, but at least then you know why you're fighting. In the end, it will all be worth it.
Whatever you do, just don't give up. Never stop trying to be a better person than you were the day before, never stop trying new things, and never ignore an opportunity that comes your way because you don't think you're good enough. You ARE good enough, and you deserve more than what the system gave you.”
-Annika Taber, Senior at UCLA