A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Student Life

Surviving a court-ordered move

Veronica (V): “We need to talk it is very important”

Me (M): “Can I stay or no. Paulino isn’t gonna pick me up”

V: “CPS is taking you guys”

M: “Why”

V: “You guys got to go”

M: “Where. Pick me up from school”

V: “They say the situation of the house is not good”

M: “ Who’s gonna pick me up”

V: “I guess me. You got to get your stuff together what do you want to take because they’re going to come take you and all the kids”

M: “When”

V: “Today when you guys get back from school”

 

This was the text conversation I had with my mom the day Child Protective Services (CPS) came and took me and my five siblings. 

   It was a typical long and boring Wednesday when I receive that text from my mom. I felt my heart drop as soon as she said that. My mind rushed to a million places because I wasn’t sure if it was real or not. I was still in class, so I couldn’t cry. My head was pounding at this point with worry. 

When my mom picked me up, I bombarded her with questions on what was happening, but she wasn’t too sure either. All I could do was cry and make my mother cry, which made me feel worse because she never cries. During all of this, my 12-year-old brother Alex was sitting in the back seat not realizing what was going on.

   When I got home I started to pack my things like my mom told me. I had packed three shirts, two pairs of pants and socks, a blanket and my RJ pillow along with my backpack. 

   I had a little hope that we could stay when my mom said the final decision would be made by a judge at six o’clock. In the meantime, I just cleaned my things up forgetting about what was happening for the next few hours.

   While listening to Autumn Leaves by BTS, I was heading outside to do something, but when I opened the door there was a police officer and the CPS lady I had met before. She asked for my mom, and I thought everything was going to be just fine.

   As she walked backed in I could see the sadness in her face. I knew it. The last bit of hope I had was shredded. “You guys have to go,” she said. 

   In that moment, I couldn’t move. I was shocked. We’ve lived in that house for 12 years and everything was fine, so why now? Who are they to ruin my life? 

   I slowly started to pack my things in disbelief as I listened to all the crying, but the only thing I could think about was my grandma. I just knew that her heart was broken. It kills me that she has to be put through this. This is more unnecessary stress for her. 

   When all my things were packed, I went straight to my grandma. I hugged her tightly as we just cried. She was losing six of her babies. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. After a couple of minutes went by, I told her goodbye not knowing the next time I would see her. I told my oldest brother goodbye as well as he reassured me everything will be okay. 

   The ladies took us to an office ten minutes away from our house, and I was still mad and sad because they are ruining everything good in my life. They gave my siblings some snacks because none of us had eaten and brought each of us bags with some clothes and hygiene items. After a while, I had mixed feelings, but my siblings were content at this point, probably because they didn’t know what was going on.

   About an hour later they said my sister Jasmene and the baby were going with one lady and the rest with the other. It was frustrating because my younger siblings are being taken away to some place unknown. The only thing I knew was we weren’t going to be together. 

   On the way to the first house, I finally noticed all the rain. Out of all days, the weather had to be gloomy on that particular day, and it didn’t help that my glasses kept fogging up. When we arrived at the big red house, I helped Alex gather his stuff. On my way to the door, I almost tripped over a soccer net because of rain on my glasses. Who has a soccer net at their front door? Anyways, soon enough we left, and I felt bad leaving him on his own, but I couldn’t do anything about it. 

   Deep down I hoped I would be the last one to get dropped off to ensure my brothers’ homes were fine. Nope. I was up next. As we approached the light blue house, I noticed the bright kitchen light illuminating the front porch. I slowly gathered my things from the car and said my goodbyes to my brothers Miklo and Victor. 

   Before I entered the house, I kept thinking about what my mom and brother told me. ¨If they do anything weird, tell us.”  I was wondering if this would be a safe house because I didn’t know what to expect. I thought they were going to starve me, not buy me the things I need, or care about me. I expected myself to cry every night. 

When I got into the house, I was greeted by the dad and two kids. The dad seemed nice and the kids blew me off. After the lady left, the dad showed me to the room where I will be staying, which I will be sharing with the daughter. Around 20 minutes later the wife came home and greeted me and showed me around the house. When I settled in for the night, I already knew this was going to be different.

   During that night, I got to thinking about what exactly was happening. I knew our living conditions weren’t the best, but we’ve been living the same way for over 10 years. The only reason I am really shocked is because it happened now when my baby brother was born and not seven years ago when Miklo was born. Why did it take so long for them to do something?

   I could blame the whole situation on my parents like I initially did, but it’s not just their fault. We all saw what was wrong and did nothing about it. Everyone is to blame for what happened. Going to sleep that night was surprisingly easy despite my ears ringing and the headache.  

   As time passed by, I realized it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Even though I am a kid with a completely different background than the family I live with, they are really nice and welcoming; and it helps that they reassure me that everything is going to be just fine. 

   I always thought that foster kids were just left at anyone’s house and neglected most of the time, but it’s way different. People actually care about your well-being and ensure you eat enough and have everything you need. 

   Although being a foster kid in general is emotionally terrorizing, I am doing just fine. I noticed that my work ethic has become a bit better and I’ve actually lost a lot of weight in the first week. I am learning how to better my life and my siblings lives when we finally get to go home.  I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, but it truly is life changing. 

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