Growing up in foster care without my siblings was sad, lonely and depressing. We wrote letters and called one another, but it just wasn’t enough. Occasionally, we were able to visit each other, but I still felt disconnected from my siblings. It was one thing to be away from family, but we all came into foster care together so it was even harder being taken away from the only people you felt understood not only your past, but how it felt to be removed from family and placed in foster care.
Growing up in different homes was difficult. One of the biggest struggles for me was trying to prove myself to my sister. I was constantly in trouble in foster care and it really hurt me because Child Protective Services (CPS) would tell my sister’s foster parents whenever I got in trouble. I felt like CPS always painted me in such a horrible light to my sister and made her think I could never mount to her expectations. A good portion of the time we talked consisted of me feeling like I had to constantly explain myself to her. When I was doing good, I felt like I had to overcompensate by bragging to her so she wouldn’t think that I was all the things everyone else had told her about me.
I can’t even remember the last time my sister and I lived in the same city. I don’t remember us visiting each other during my time in middle school or high school so it must have been 6 to 8 years ago. My sister says the last time we lived in the same city was in 2012 but she is not sure either. It’s sad that we can’t remember, we’ve been separated since we were 4 and 5 years old. Child Protective Services really should try harder to keep siblings close to each other.
I am so glad my sister and I can live together now after so much time apart. I LOVE living with her and am so happy to be around her, but it has also been an adjustment. I think I’ve gotten so used to being painted in a negative light to her, that I’m constantly trying to show her that I am not who I used to be. I am the older sister and I felt I was always supposed to set an example, and I didn’t. I feel like I have to be super protective because of the things I’ve experienced in life. I catch myself a lot of the times because I know I’m not allowing her the space to learn on her own. I really feel like a lot of how I’m operating is on a scale of making up for lost time because we’ve been apart for so long. It’s a breath of fresh air to have her here and I’ve never felt happier or more whole.