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I grew up in foster care until my two dads gave me the family I always dreamed of.

Manuela Cardiga
May 15, 2018
03:32 P.M.

Dear AmoMama,

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I am writing to you to tell you my story in the hope that it will help some of the children stuck in the vicious circle of the foster system find hope and happiness, just like I did.

When I was 5, I was removed by Child Services from my biological family after several incidents of abuse and neglect. My brothers and sisters and myself were separated and placed in different foster homes, some were even sent to different states.

The loneliness and despair I felt is unimaginable for an adult. I was alone, without the consolation of my siblings whose love and laughter had so often helped me to overcome the horror of my original home.

In foster care, I was stripped of a sense of belonging, and as loving and kind as my foster parents might be, I was soon moved on. My entire childhood was a cycle of arrival and departure from strange houses, and after a while, I could no longer allow myself to love or even like the people I was placed with. I would only be taken away, and be a stranger in a strange home again.

I grew up and decided to dedicate my life to helping the children trapped in foster care. One day I met a lovely man who had also grown up in foster care, and he invited me home to meet his life partner. These two men became my best friends, my mentors. I was astounded and moved to tears when they came to me and told me they wanted to adopt me. I was 23, and after a lifetime of loneliness, and isolation I was part of a family. I had a forever home.

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These two wonderful men opened their hearts, their lives and their home to a bitter, angry and wounded young woman and made her whole. I have since had my very own little girl, and she calls my Dads 'grandpa'.

There are several laws being considered that will exclude men and women like my fathers - people who have chosen different lifestyles - and people with different religions from being considered as adoptive parents for those thousands of children starved for love and a family.

I am here to speak for those children. When you wish to judge the worthiness of a man or a woman willing to offer a child love, look at their hearts. That is all that matters, all other differences are invisible in a child's eyes, just as they are in God's.

If you need help or advice, reach out to us, and thousands of women just like you who are struggling with the difficulties of life. You are not alone, we are here for you, and we listen; so write to us anonymously using this form.

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