Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BAGGAGE (02/08/18)
TITLE: Maybe One Day
By Allison Egley
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I remember how it started. One day at school, I was called to the office. There was a police officer and a social worker there, and the principal told me I had to go with the social worker. They told me that my mom was at the police station and they weren’t sure how long she’d be there. Hey, don’t play dumb with me. I knew what that meant. You think a mom can hide everything from her daughter? I knew some things were going on, and I had a hunch it wasn’t going to end well.
I still don’t know exactly what she did, but I know it must have been serious because one day they finally told me what I suspected since day one. Mom’s not coming back.
I never knew my dad. Mom drove the rest of the family away, and finally, she moved away so she wouldn’t have to deal with their advice. So, there’s not any family to take care of me. Their only option was to take me to a group home, for a temporary placement.
That day was my first day in the foster system. And since then... well, things haven’t exactly been stable. I live out of my backpack, and never fully unpack. I’ve done some research on my own and found out the average stay in the foster care system is two years, and that the average number of placements is three. For once in my life, I’m above average. Yippee.
Every new placement, they tell me to unpack my bags. That maybe this is going to be my “forever home.” But I know better. One day, out of the blue, I’ll get called to the office and my case worker will be there. I know what that means. Sometimes, I’m at the house. At least then I get to pack my own bags.
I know my case worker is doing the best she can. And, well, I know I’m not the easiest kid to deal with, but I try. I really do. It’s just that sometimes I get mad at my mom. She should have been there for me. And I feel like I can’t tell any of my foster parents the whole story. I know more, and I’ve seen more than I let on. But I can only tell the full story once, and it’s got to be to my “forever family.” And so, until then, I keep things hidden. Until they explode.
I’m in counseling, but I can’t tell the counselor everything either. At least not yet. Sometimes my counselor has to change too, depending on where my placement is. And the counseling helps, but... nothing’s the same.
So far, my current placement has been the longest one. They seem to love me despite my outbursts. They try to tell me about this guy named Jesus. Only way I’d heard that name before was as a curse. But they make him sound real. It sounds nice, but I just can’t believe it. Not yet.
Maybe one day, I’ll finally hear those words. I don’t know if it will be with this family or not, but... If I’m honest, I kind of hope it is. Maybe one day, they’ll tell me, “You’re adopted. You are ours.” Maybe then I’ll finally be able to unpack.
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