August 22, 2016

I know what movies tell us, that love is this wonderfully messy thing that makes big bucks on the big screen. Oh, and the hero always gets the girl in the end. That hands are meant to be held as you walk down the beach as the sun sets. That lips are meant to be kissed in the rain in the scene were the girl forgives the stupid boy. That eyes are meant to adore the beautiful girl walking down the hallway at school. That the person you love is worth fighting for. It made me believe that maybe one day I would find someone who would care for me. To finally feel safe with someone and be able to trust them.

As a little girl I watched so many people walk out of my life. My first memories from the very people who brought me into the world was the back of their heads as they walked out of my life. I watched as my mother cheated on my father. I watched as my father drowned himself in alcohol and numbed himself with drugs. My parents dangerous and dysfunctional relationship was only the beginning.

After being dragged through the foster care system I learned that losing people was a normal thing. That girl I shared a room in that one foster home would leave. Despite the late night talks about cute boys at school or how she promised we would be best friends forever. That caseworker that I liked talking to will quit her job in two weeks because I am too much for her. That one staff worker in the group home might seem like a mom to me but I’ll never see her again. Soon I forgot the names of the schools I went to. I forget the teachers and eventually give up on making friends.

The scary part is that even after I left all of this behind I am so use to having to cut people out of my life I do it without even thinking about it. That cute boy who asked me out in math class didn’t even have to hear about me moving to another foster home from one of my friends. The butterflies left my stomach the moments I realized things were getting too good. Oh, and that girl I used to be best friends with will wonder what she did to make me stop being friends with her. When really it was me that was making up all these different excuses in my head about why I couldn’t be friends anymore. It’s a bad habit I picked up when I had to move to a different school.

For me this was a never-ending cycle and still is. Maintaining relationships with people is hard to do when you are so use to losing them. I use to believe that one day I will meet a boy like in the movies and have love that writers will fight at the chance to make into a book or a big hit movie. That I would have best friends that I have known for years and I know will always be there. Now that I am older I realize it’s not that easy especially when I am the one that pushes people away. I never understood why the people in my life after I got adopted kept leaving. Then I realized that even if I had a loving family and great friends it wouldn’t be enough. There would always be that scared little girl in the back of my mind telling me that it was time to let go even if it wasn’t.


Diane Ehrensaft on August 24, 2016

This is a poignant and beautifully written piece that makes me want to wave a wand over that scared little girl tucked in the back of the writer’s mind. But growing up has taught me that magic wands aren’t the answer. The answer is fostering new relationships that can speak back to that little girl who learned to navigate a world filled with repeated losses by substituting new relationships where people care and stay. It’s not a fix-all but what I have learned as a founding member, board member, and senior clinician in A Home Within is that we can really answer to that little girl with a world that looks and feels better, where people promise to stay and mean it.




Originally posted at a project by A Home Within