At least once in everyone's life they wanted to be invisible. Think of all the possibilities; you could pull so many pranks. Or what about that one time you were extremely embarrassed and just wished you could disappear. And of course no one can forget how cool Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility was. We all dream of being able to walk around and scare people while pretending to be ghosts. That would be the coolest thing that could ever happen to us.
I'll let you in on a secret, there are actual invisible people! We see them every day but we don't notice them. Let me tell you what the name is for today's invisible people, foster children. Whoa shocking turn right? But think about it, when walking down a street can you tell which child or not is considered a foster child. No, you probably can't. Foster children look just like everyone else.
No one notices a foster child. They're just another unfortunate soul in our society. I mean, yeah the average person will donate their old clothes and toys to an orphanage or group home but they will never see these children's stories. They will never hear what they have to say about their position. To be honest, most of their case workers don't hear them either.
CPS case workers on average have between 30 and 40 cases at a time. That's 30 or more children that are considered theirs. Each child wants to think they are special, that deserve all the one on one attention but each child needs to be attended to. There's not much time to be mentors for all of their cases.
These kids then remain invisible, unseen and unheard, unnoticed. I can tell you this right now; it will make them feel worthless. It will make them feel like they don't deserve to take up any space. Being a ward of the state is one of the worst things that can happen to someone's child hood.
Now, I'm not blaming the government or CPS. They are people that are trying to help those in need. It's their job to follow the rules set before them; rules that take away children's freedom. It makes you feel like you live confined in four walls, four walls that are constantly moving and filled with strange people who go through everything you own and possibly even take some of it away.
What these children have to go through is horrible. Starting from the time when they were still with their family life has been rough for them. These kids are already coming from a life of heart break, pain, hunger, and who knows what else and then they are thrown in to strange homes with strange people who they don't know. People, who have their own families, people who have their own traditions and rules and beliefs.
These kids don't feel like they belong. They are outcasts in their own homes. Then, a couple months, weeks, or sometimes even days later they are uprooted and moved again. They learn to not speak out, to not ask for what they need and to survive on their own, how to blend in to their surroundings, but most of all they learn that they will be ignored until they are 18. These foster children feel like they don't even exist. I would know I am one.
When I was eleven years old I learned what a meth addict was. I had always heard my parents fight and I had always heard my dad call my mom a "meth whore" but thought nothing more of it than another slur against her. Then one day at school I learned what crystal meth was during a science class. We watched a video on how it destroys lives and what the addiction does to people. I remember I was so interested because the woman in the video was so much like my mom. She had the sunken in cheeks, the pick marks on her face, the twitching; they even had the same big eyes.
It didn't occur to me until several days later that my mother was an addict. The video made me curious, and I snuck in to her room at night and saw her and my dad snorting the drugs in their bathroom. I didn't say anything, I knew that I shouldn't. Instead I silently left the room and went back to bed.
Everything made sense after that. I figured out why our house was always so busy. There was always a constant flow of people coming in and out. I understood why the house was dirty, why my mom was always so mad, why my parents slept all day.
Meth addicts are unpredictable. I learned this after a fight between my parents when my mom threw a shot gun at my little sister's head. My sister, Hayley, was so young and naive. She had no idea what our parents were, what the poison they inhaled made them like. She just thought it was a normal way of life. Mom's yelling? Hide in her big sister's room. They're throwing things? Dodge them. They're being loud again during the night? Sleep in big sister's room with a movie playing.
I became the adult. The drugs made them act as a rebel teenager would. I cooked, I cleaned, and I helped my sister to the best of my abilities even though she resented me. I tried to be glue. I tried to hold the family together, tried to make it seem like we weren't broken. I would've sworn we weren't. We just had our own family secrets.
You see, no matter how the fights started or ended I would side with my mom and Hayley would side with our dad. It's just the way things happened. The fights would get worse and worst though I tried to think little of it. The fighting was normal, so what if they were a little louder, a little longer. It was something we could handle. It was something I could try to fix. That was me, always trying to fix the mess.
But when my parents split up it was something I couldn’t fix. My dad and Hayley left. I was given the option to go with them but I decided I would stay behind to try to help my mom, maybe even make her see what she was doing to herself.
They left on February 14, our parents' anniversary. I came home from school and my mom tried to surprise me with a bag of chocolate. They were packs of M&M's with cute little messages on them. Our mom and dad then started fighting over the candy. You see, as soon as I opened the giant bag my dad stole a few pieces, no big deal. But my mom saw it as the apocalypse.
My dad, the one who was more often sober than high unlike my mother saw how irrational she was being. It was the last straw for him and he left, taking his work clothes and a box of Hayley's Barbie’s’; Leaving behind a woman who was kicking the walls repeatedly and his oldest daughter.
By this time I was 12 and thought I was mature. And truth be told, for my age I was. I learned how to survive. Without my dad around we had no income besides the money my mom got from selling dope or other illegal activities she did in her spare time. She would bring home thousands at a time but not a penny went towards me our animals. We had two dogs and snake. They all disappeared over time.
One of my new favorite games was to walk behind my mom and pick up the money she dropped. She had no idea that she could lose hundreds at a time. I would use the money to buy pet food and food for myself. Sometimes I wouldn't have enough and would go eat dinner at a friend's house.
I cleaned the house every day, took the bus to and from school, did what I needed to do. My mom was home maybe 2 out of the 7 days of the week if I was lucky. I was practically living on my own for several months.
One day, when I came home though my mom was lying on her bed. I went in to tell her I loved her and missed her. I tried to tell her that and hug her as often as I could whenever I saw her since I rarely did and I never knew if I'd see her again. That day when I went in to the room I thought my mom was just sleeping. There was a pipe on her chest, it was still too hot for me to grab. I shook her but she wouldn't wake up.
I had learned how to check for someone’s pulse in school so I did just that. I also put my ear to her mouth to see if she was breathing. She wasn't. I was surprised at how calm I was after that. I walked out of the room taking her phone with me and called my aunt. I told her mom wasn't breathing and that it was just us at the house.
On average it was a 15 to 20 minute drive from our aunts’ house to ours. We lived on the outskirts of town and she lived in the middle of it. I was amazed when she showed up in five. I was sitting on the steps in front of house waiting for her when she pulled in to the drive way.
I remember how I almost fell. My aunt paid little to no attention to me. She literally pushed me out of the way to get inside the house. She put a whole in the wall with how hard she swung the door open. She ran straight to my mother's room and was checking her pulse, breath, all the things I had done.
I waited patiently on the couch. I figured she was dead; I was just waiting to leave and go with her to see my dad. I stared at the wall and listened to the sound of her slapping my mom as hard as she could across the face to try and wake her. To my surprise, ten minutes later both my mother and aunt walked out of the room and in to the living room.
I couldn't understand anything my aunt was saying. She was yelling louder than I'd ever heard anyone do before. I resisted the urge to cover my ears. I just sat and watched the scene unfold and watched as my mom tried to attack my aunt saying it was her fault that I had to witness everything that had happened.
I was numb as I sat. I felt like I was out of my body watching myself watch the fight. I got up to walk outside and sit on our deck. The plan was to light the citronella candle and play with our dogs. But as soon as I stepped outside my aunt was close behind. She grabbed me by the arm and drug me to her car. My mom was trying to tell her not to take me, that she'd call the cops. We all new she wouldn't because she'd be busted too.
I just followed along with my aunt. That was another thing I had learned. You follow, you do not question or fight back or refuse. You just simply obeyed and stayed quite. I got in to her car, it was a green jeep. The same car I'd ridden in for years before when my parents were clean and normal. We'd go to their house and play video games and watch Netflix. To Hayley and me it was the coolest thing in the entire world.
She drove to her house, this time she took the expected 15 minutes.
I stayed with her for a little over a week then was allowed to return home. When I got back to my house I had learned I needed to pack all my things because we were being evicted. As it turns out, my mom had not paid the rent in 4 months since she spent all the money she earned on drugs.
From that time forward I was moved around a lot. If I was with my mom we would switch houses every week or sometimes I would stay with my aunt or friends. I spent a lot of time in meth houses and learned new breathing techniques since I had asthma. I had to learn how breath is short breaths so I wouldn’t inhale as much of the fumes. Then eventually I was placed with my dad.
He was sober then, or so I thought. We lived in a one bedroom apartment and one of us would always have to sleep on the couch since we only had two beds at the time. It was rough but at least we were healthy.
Through this “happy” time though, my mother would constantly harass us. She would even attempt to kidnap Hayley and me but I wouldn’t fight her back. She would come and trash our house once she learned where we lived. She even sent some of her friends to come and bug us.
Skipping forward a bit, I was having some problems with my dad and my mom was now sober so I moved back in with her. We had a pretty nice trailer and it was right next door to my best friend’s house. I was 15 and pretty content. Everything was going really well.
Then one day in late February my mom relapsed. There wasn’t much to do; I just acted like I didn’t notice it. There was the problem with her drug head friends being around again but it was something I felt I could handle. The next thing I know a big blow out between my mom and the meth head staying with us caused a scene so big the cops came and I was no longer allowed in my room since the window was shattered.
I left that night and went to stay at my best friend’s house just a few houses over. I brought my dog, she was only a few months old, in order to keep her from getting in to the broken glass or anything harmful still in the house.
The next morning my calls and asks where my dog is, her name is Ella, and I told her I brought her with me. She was coming down off a high and demanded I bring the dog home because it shouldn’t be able to leave the house. She also wanted me home to clean up the blood left behind after the night before so she could go to work.
I wasn’t one to disagree since I knew if she didn’t get to work we most likely wouldn’t make rent that month so my friends and I went back to my house to start cleaning. When I got home though, my mom was still there.
She started to blow up saying I shouldn’t have left the night before and that I should’ve stayed to take care of her. She was yelling about random things, useless things, anything at that she could use as an excuse to be so angry. She yelled that I came to slow to help clean she yelled that my friends were there, that the window was broken, that I was in dirty clothes, that life itself existed.
I’ll spare you, dear reader, the details of the events that happened next but I ended up with a split lip and my mom with a headache. My mom had disappeared but the cops had shown up. They were using words like neglect, abuse, under the influence, and Child Protective Services.
I was placed at a home for a family I babysat for. They were amazing people and the plan was for me to stay there a few days until my mom was out of jail and calmed down. I knew my mom would only be incarcerated for 24 hours so I waited. I had only brought enough clothes to last a couple of days.
It was four days before I heard anything from my mom. I did all the research I could and found out she was released from custody the day after our spat just as expected. No one had heard from her after she was released though. I called as many friends of hers that I could and they had heard nothing. I called her work and she had never even shown up even though she was scheduled for all 3 days after her release. I tried her probation officer, hospitals, anything and everything but I could not find her.
When she finally called me on that fourth day she told me she was in California. That if I wanted to go with her to pack my bags and she’d send me a ticket, if not I should just stay with the family I worked for. I knew if I went life would get worse. You could hear in her voice what the drugs were doing to her, it was heartbreaking.
I made the decision to stay, to tough it out here. I thought maybe I could go back with my dad or maybe she’d even come back for me but she didn’t. All I’ve seen of her since then is drugged out pictures on Facebook and a mug shot for Perrysville Prison.
You see reader; the point of this story is to show you that other’s now what it’s like to have parents addicted to some harmful vice. It doesn’t have to be methamphetamine. They could be addicted to alcohol, crack, pills, or anything else that is harmful to them and the people around them.
Whether you parents are still addicted or whether they are now sober you’ve felt the pain delt by them. And maybe now you’re in a different living situation whether it be DES or a relative or even a friend’s home. You can work through these situations and learn from them.
Perhaps if you had never seen what these drugs do to other people you would have even tried them yourselves. You could have become an addict and ruined your life. These past experiences are painful yes, but without them you would not be who you are today. You would not know what you do now if those things had not happened to you.
Every situation is different, but in a way they are all similar. We all feel things a different way, but in a way we’re all hurting. You can work past these things; you can take your scars as trophies. Don’t let anyone pity you; you are not weak because you’ve had a bad life. You are the opposite of weak, you are strong. Don’t give up.