Page 20 - NRT Share Your Moving Story 2017
P. 20

Vienna Virginia
Graduating high school in in in Spring 2018
Prior to entering foster care at age 13 the concept and feeling of ‘home’ was elusive For years my biological mother and I moved from place place to place place living with friends and relatives or renting a a a a a room in in in the houses of of strangers I attended ve elementary schools and often took city buses to to my friend’s home long before sunrise just so I could nish my my middle school years with my my classmates I rarely had a a a a a a room - - much less a a home - - to call my own In November of 8th grade I I entered foster care and met the woman who would three years later adopt me I moved into her house with all my my belongings in in in a a a a borrowed suitcase and for the rst time in in in my my life I I I I did not feel that I I I I had somewhere else to go I I I I felt as if if I I I I nally stabilized myself in in a a a a a a caring supportive environment and had an an actual home My new room was sunny in in the morning and my foster mom put my my awards on the the walls lled my my closet with new clothes and even put my my own little Christmas tree on the dresser to make my my rst holiday in my new home special While I was apprehensive during that that time of transition I quickly learned that that a a a a a home is much more than walls and stairs for me it has been the foundation for healing academic success and happiness Homes are like a a a a a a a a stage for a a a a a a a a family’s story to to play out on and that story is told through lots of rituals that help to to to develop family unity Promoting these traditions is important for us kids in in foster care because we are trying to to t t t t t t into a a a a a family of of strangers who often do not know how to accommodate a a a a a new child For example I learned that our Christmas tree goes in the same place every year - anchored to to a a column in in in the living room to to keep our cats from knocking it over We take the the same picture every Thanksgiving birthday and other big holiday from the the middle of the the staircase looking down on our dining
room table and during the the summer we dine on the the deck surrounded by by owers planted by by my my new grandmother I brought some of my my own traditions to my new home and bake Buck Eyes - a a a a a peanut butter ball covered in in chocolate - in in our kitchen to share with friends and family on all the big holidays Moving into my new home also a a a a a orded me me the physical space and security to excel in school My new mom and I even built a a a desk late one night so I I could have room to study I I make the honor roll each semester was selected for the the National Honor Society won the the Girl Scout’s Silver Award was selected for the National Student Leadership Conference for engineering am in in in my high school’s top orchestra and and have lettered in in varsity varsity track and and varsity varsity cheerleading When I was with my biological mother receiving an award or recognition was was not not honored I I did not not feel like I I was was living in in in a a a loving home But now with my my new mom I feel that my my accomplishments are nally being celebrated While I have always known that achieving in in in school would help help me me later in in life having a a a a safe home helped to open doors to even more success Our house is not huge but my new mom kept her her piano from her her childhood even though it wasn’t being used However I started to make the the piano keys sing again I have played the the violin since 6th grade and practice almost daily sitting at the the piano When I open the the deck doors the the neighbors can hear me me practice and they compliment me when I see them outside During our family dinners special events and and and holidays my new grandparents and and and cousins gather around to hear me play both the the violin and the the piano which I recently taught myself My music helped me during stressful transitions in in my my life and H 

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