So who raised me?
Due to my upbringing, I had to constantly adapt to different rules and ways of life. I have experiences where I not only saw what different families looked like, but I also experienced them. Furthermore, I can honestly say that I have lived in almost every social class in some way or another.
Ages 0-4: I lived with my birth mother. We were borderline "poor" as she was a single parent struggling to find a way to make ends meet. We
lived in a 1 bedroom apartment and had no personal vehicle. We used buses and taxi's for daily transportation and had to do a lot of
Ages 4-5: I lived with my first foster family for less than a year. They lived in a trailer in Sun Valley and had a minivan that they primarily used plus
another vehicle that barely ran. This other vehicle was only used as needed. This was a lower middle class family with a mom who
stayed home with the kids. I think the dad had a job, but I'm not entirely sure. They had three kids of their own and I believe they had
maybe three foster kids. My memory is a little spotty here because there were kids that seemed to come and then disappear all the
time. Usually the same ones. There were three of us kids who were for sure full time foster kids.
Ages 5-9: My second foster family was a husband and wife with four adult children who lived outside of the home. They had two of their own kids
and then adopted two kids as well. The husband had a full time job and worked odd hours. The wife was wheelchair bound and had
muscular dystrophy. A disability where she was unable to move her arms and legs. She stayed home and worked primarily with kids
who had various disabilities. They had a nice home in Golden Valley and weren't rich by any means, but were comfortable. At the time,
they had 5 foster kids and most were very long term. They were a catholic family and a true middle class family.
Ages 9-14: My third foster family was a husband and wife with two teenage kids who became adults during the time I lived with them. They
operated as a 24/7 business with a highly regimented program. This was considered a "Level 2 home." They had a nice 7 bedroom
home located in the Galena area. They did a lot for the children in their home and provided a nice environment for children to thrive in.
Since this was classified as a business, they had more money than most foster homes. There were always new cars, RV's, ATV's, toys
for kids to share, etc. They always provided activities for us to do and we were never bored. This home would have been perfect if it
wasn't such a structured environment. At one point they had 12 kids in their home if you include their own kids. I would say they
typically had around 8 foster kids at a time on average. I'm sure they won't be happy I'm calling it this, but it's true. This was an upper
middle class family. I never felt like we had to scrape by and if there was something we needed, there was no problem getting it. They
are good people and a lot of the expensive items they would buy would be beneficial to the kids in some way or another.
Ages 14-14: This was a lesbian black and Native American couple. They rescued me from Wittenburg Hall when my last family kicked me out. The
black woman was friends with the prior family and knew me very well through it. When she found out what happened, she came and
picked me up that same night. She knew I was bound to be returned back to my mother soon and didn't want to see that process interrupted. I lived with them for a couple of months before being returned to my mother. They had two of their own adult kids and I was their first foster child. The Native woman was a APRN and the black woman had recently received her doctorate and was in the process of creating her own program to try and fix the broken system. She was a former foster child too herself. Both were amazing
people who gave their best efforts to try and fix a problem. Now it is my turn to try and change things.
Ages 14-17: I lived with my birth mother in what I would consider a lower middle class home. We could have easily been a middle class home, but
she preferred to gamble away all her money.
Ages 17-current: I have held steadily onto working class status. There were some times where I could have probably claimed lower middle
class/poverty status, but for the most part I have been part of the middle class.