I was taken into foster care for abuse. I can recall being sad, confused, and scared.

I was extremely sad but also relieved. No one wants to experience abuse by the ones who are supposed to love and protect them no matter what. That can break so many trust barriers.

I can remember the day my parents signed over their rights. This was probably the most pain I had ever felt. I was in my room crying and I heard Ms. Moody coming in for her shift walking down the hallway. She came in my room held me and prayed with and for me. Who knew someone who was a stranger to me could love me unconditionally as if I was her child? She did.

Staff members that truly loved what they did at Helping Hands helped me change my perspective. Mrs. Smiley who always smiled, Ms. Moody who loved everyone no matter what, and Ms. Tonja who
always encouraged me and praised my grades. I went from sharing a room with someone to having my own personal room due to my behavior and grades. I remember coming “home” and seeing that my room was remodeled! Oh my goodness, fresh towels no one has ever used, new bed set, and I even got a pad for my bed to make it a little more comfortable. I was so happy I cried.

Also, we had a bible study volunteer and she was so sweet! She taught me how to speak to God. My biological parent did not go to church so this was all new for me. I believe even though I went through so much pain that God knew what he was doing.

During Christmas we had a biker group come and brought everyone presents and it was the coolest thing ever. Those interactions made a lot of us feel like even though we were in foster care we were not forgotten about.

I got the opportunity to learn to cook and do laundry — never had a washer in dryer before foster care.

I currently work for the largest credit union in the world, Navy Federal Credit Union, for 4 years now. I will be celebrating 5 years of marriage this year to my wonderful husband Ely! We have two beautiful children Grace & Ean. I recently swore into the United Stated Air Force to better my education and provide more for my family.

In the future, I would love to be a public speaker to children who have been abused or are placed into foster care. There are so many ways to look at the situation but staying positive
has been my focus.