“Mom, You May Still See Me As Your Little Girl”
A Foster Care Story
Sherise Jones looks at the mirror and wonders if it’s lying to her - she sees a younger girl, but feels like an older woman.
Sherise was born in Dallas, Texas and moved to the Boston when she was nine. She left her best friend… her mother.
She often sits in front of the window wondering whether her mom thinks about her, asking the sky if her mother remembers when she was her little girl? Whether, she wonders, her mother tries to find out how her life is?
Sherise’s mother thought she would live a happier more privileged life in Massachusetts. And it was beautiful - at first. Then her mother and her sister (Sherie’s Aunt) weren't getting along. Sherise, her mother, and younger brother found themselves living in two motels and then a homeless shelter.
The Joneses were given a home for Christmas. Then Sherise’s mother decided she could no longer handle life and what it had handed to her. Sherise went to school hiding scratches and bruises. Her mother was no longer there to stand up for her. "Mother", she used to cry out… "I no longer had a father… I had two children." Sherise’s mother spiraled down a path of alcohol and drug abuse. Sherise had to steal her mother's pin number and forge her signature to get the rent and food to continue living in the donated home.
Sheise had her share of suicide attempts and said good-bye to everyone she loved, but her mother always found her. The last time, Sherise and her mother stood crying, and Sherise asked for help and her mother responded. Then Sherise broke. No one understood - not her friends, not the rest of her family - and they didn't like that her mother was back in the young children’s lives. Sherise couldn't understand why. When a social worker got to her mother… she simply disappeared. Sherise was left to wonder: what happened?
Again Sherise was left alone.
Sherise and her brother got evicted; she pleaded with her mother to come home, but she wouldn’t return emails or phone calls.
“I was a normal kid; I was happy. Until I saw my quiet little goofy brother become an angry violent person, he had held the pain in for so long. He was soon taken away and tossed from group home to group home.”
Sherise’s Sunday school teacher said that if she ever needed a favor, to ask. They became her family. The best parents and older siblings.
During that time Sherise says, “I was a normal kid; I was happy. Until I saw my quiet little goofy brother become an angry violent person; he had held the pain in for so long. He was soon taken away and tossed from group home to group home.”
During one of their brother-sister visits a social worker came in and told Sherise, "You will need to pack you things; you will be returning to Dallas.” Sherise and her brother dropped their jaws in disbelief.
Their mother was no longer there. Within three months Sherise and her brother returned to Texas feeling lost, not knowing where to belong, only to be split up again.
Her brother went back to being bounced around from home to home and Sherise went to the "Receiving Home" - a place for foster kids who are in limbo within the system. She waited to be accepted to be a part of Transitional Housing.
Sherise finally got in! She struggled to grow up and become an adult. She went to classes that taught her the life skills she needed and graduated from the Transitional Housing Program.
Sherise is now 18 and on her own. She is in college and works part time. She has her own place now and is looking towards becoming a teacher.
“Mom, you may see me as your little girl and when I look in the mirror I see the same figure but I'm not the same person.
“I am now 18 and on my own. I am in college and work. I have my own place now and am looking towards becoming a good mother some day.
“Mom, you may see me as your little girl and when I look in the mirror I see the same figure but I'm not the same person.”
Sherise says a special blessing of prayer each night for the giving families who open their homes and hearts up to foster care kids.
Thank you Sherise, for sharing your Story with us.
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© 2009 by Adara Bernstein and Story of My Life