Harmony Bridgewater

“We went in together, but move after move, my siblings and I were split until we were all in different homes.”

Harmony shares #HerStory:

“The worst part about foster care was being split up from my siblings. I went years without seeing my siblings and found out years later that we were miles from each other. No foster home made me feel like I was a part of a family. I may have called the foster parent Grandmother or Auntie, but they never made me feel like I belonged. I watched my foster parents treat their children differently than myself... they were treated better… with love, trust and respect. I learned those are not easy to come by in the system.

What the system did teach me was how to be independent and diligent. This has both helped and hurt me over the years. Imagine a child never taught the basics... how to bathe, floss, brush your teeth, tie your shoes, read, swim, ride a bike. I learned these by myself while moving from home to home and losing contact with everyone I ever knew and loved. It has been very damaging to me emotionally. Building trust and learning to share my pain with a partner is what eventually helped me leave the system with my sanity.

If you’re in the foster system now, know your rights! Do not be scared to #SpeakUp. It may feel as if the foster care system is preparing you for a prison system, but it does not have to be that way. If you feel unsafe, mistreated, disrespected, neglected, or rejected from your foster home, know that there are people to talk to. You often have two social workers, a lawyer and a judge who all have numbers that you have the right to obtain and to call whenever you feel necessary. Do not be afraid to reach out, speak to truth, and ask for real change from every resource connected to foster care. They are owed to you.

Today, I appreciate everything that I have been through and fully understand that everything happens for a reason. I believe in positive energy and karma so I try to take every bad and see the good in it.”

#JoinTheNation #FosterYouth #AgingOut #FosterNation

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