Every April, Becker County Human Services sends me this letter asking to help send local foster kids to summer camps and summer sports. A few years ago I opened up about why I’m so passionate about helping our local foster children and how I spent a very short time in a foster home when I was 14. Every time I read this letter I’m reminded how much God has blessed me and how far I’ve come. There is another part of my time in that foster home that I have never shared with anyone except for my husband and I wasn’t planning about ever openly talking about it but our community has lost some amazing people who took their own lives and I know there are people of every age struggling so I’m going to share more of my story in the chance it could save a life or spark random acts of kindness.
I had been through a lot in my 14 years of age but when I ended up in a foster home I hit an all time low. I remember the negative thoughts that ran through my head during that time “You will never amount to anything, you can’t even figure out algebra”, “Why can’t I just be like everyone else”, “Why is it so hard to make friends” “I wasn’t meant to be here”, “God clearly doesn’t love me like he loves everyone else”, “This world will be better off without me”.
I decided while sitting in my bunk in the foster home I couldn’t take life anymore as I saw no hope. That evening I made a plan to take my own life after everyone went to bed and I wasn’t turning back. As I sat there I said goodbye in my head to everyone. Then a little foster kid walked in my room, I think he might of been about 7. He saw the tears in my eyes and he asked if he could give me his teddy bear, his only possession. I was past the age of liking teddy bears but somehow his teddy bear and his words soothed me in that moment. He sat down next to my bed and told me not to be sad that it gets so much better and that everything will be ok. I took a pause from my own situation and thought about this boy who is probably hurting just as bad as me if not worse, missing his parents and he just gave me the only thing that belongs to him. This courageous little boy will never know he saved my life that night. I decided that same day I was going to tough it out and try to be there for the other foster kids who needed me as much as I needed them. I also decided that when I grow up I will try to help foster kids if I ever get the opportunity.
Life is hard especially in those teenage years as you try to navigate the world but it can also be hard when you go through hard times as an adult. It’s easy to listen to our negative thoughts and believe them as truth. It’s easy to think I wish I was more like someone else or I wish my family was more like theirs and not celebrate this amazing unique life we’ve all been given. Now that I’m older I can look back at my entire life in awe at how all these little hardships were Gods mountains for me to climb to take me higher. I pray that you remember daily what a gift you are even when you’re feeling low and I pray if you have the opportunity to be kind that you do it because it can change the world just like that little boy did with his teddy bear. I have four boys and an amazing husband now and I thank God for that little foster boy every day.
This Monday-Saturday I will be donating a percentage of my sales at our stores to help our local foster kids so come on out and shop for a great cause!