Former Foster Youth Problem for Kennedy (Episode One.)

I would like to start out by saying that I prefer the nickname Eddie. (Ken- EDDIE) I’ll admit, not many people call me it, even though I’ve been encouraging it for years. I have more than a few moments in life where someone disproves because I didn’t call a common friend by their nickname. Say, I didn’t call a Jefferson ‘Jeff’ or something. Some holier-than-though person will scold me ‘you should call them by their nickname, because that’s the name they prefer.’ (Like I didn’t already know that.) It’s just a funny double standard in life. I have to call everyone by their nickname, but yet everyone loves to tell me they hate mine.

The second thing you should know, as with a lot of foster kids, I have a confusing family. Biological father and all their children, biological mother and all their children, whoever they’re remarried to, adopted mother, adopted father, and a few strands here and there. I will TRY to remember to specifically say from what family side someone is from, because it gets really confusing when I call both of my mothers, ‘Mom’.

I recently turned 20 and I go to Southeast Community College. It can be difficult sometimes, most of my friends have been going to UNL since they were freshman. I know, I know, I’m ‘saving money’ and making the ‘smart decision’ by going to SCC first, I’ve already heard it over and over. But SCC doesn’t even feel like college, it feels like high school filled with adults. (And I wasn’t the biggest fan of high school.) I almost feel ridiculous when someone asks me where I go to school. “Oh, SCC, but I’ll be transferring over to UNL soon.’ (Always make sure to include that.) It’s like the training wheels for College. I know a lot of people can get great jobs with degrees and certificates from SCC, my (adopted) mother did. I’m just biased I suppose. (It might be because all through high school I was in advanced classes, and a lot of the teachers just assumed you were going to UNL.) I drive by UNL all the time- have you seen their buildings? Have you seen their campus? Now that’s college!

I live with my boyfriend, his name is Miles, and he is the reason to my crazy. He is the collected to my chaos. He’s more down to earth, while I’m all over the place sometimes. He’s really good for me, and I’d like to think that I encourage more adventures in his life. (Though he went on plenty adventures before even knowing me.) We currently live in a house with 2 roommates, but all being going our separate ways soon. It’ll be exciting to have an apartment with him where everything in there is ours.

Well there’s a bit of a background for you, but what do I do? Mostly? I write. (Kind of why I’m doing this blog.) And it hasn’t always been easy, writing. First off, they weren’t kidding when they said that you were going to be your biggest critique. When you’re so insecure that you can’t even write when someone is too close to you, because god forbid they read some of it. I’ve been writing stories since fourth grade. (You know, when I wrote stories about my cat ruling the world and stuff.)

The thing that’s hard as a child when your main talent is writing, is that it’s hard for a parent to encourage. What I mean by that was, with a sport you can watch, you can see the child’s improvement. With artwork, you can see the improvement. When the child is a writer, what do you see? Only that she wrote more. And parents don’t have time to sit down and read every little bit of writing I ever do. I never had a parent who had the time to do that. I don’t think it ever occurred to them to even do it. So my talent was viewed as an ‘escape’ by a lot of adults. Instead of doing something a vast majority of children would rather not (ever) do and getting any sort of praise for it, it was viewed as an excuse to me ‘anti-social’. (Which is ridiculous in itself, because I was the loudest child I’ve ever met. I always talked. I did not know how to shut up.)

So, that’s what I do, in a nut shell. I’ll go into further detail in later blogs. So, that’s what I do, in a nut shell. I’ll go into further detail in later blogs. What I’d like to address today is a Former Foster Youth Problem for Kennedy. (Episode One.)

I was adopted less than a month before I turned 16. If you want to know why that’s important, it’s because a lot of things that help former foster youths have a cut off age for youth who got adopted. The age is generally 16, if they help adopted children at all. When I go, looking for anything that could make my life a little easier, grants, education, things that help out with rent (maybe I could spend more time on classes if I could find something) or really absolutely anything that could make my life easier, I can’t find anything that fits my criteria.

Even worse, I have been told that because 1) I graduated high school 2) I didn’t have a child as a teenager or 3) age out of the foster care system, I can’t get helped. So pretty much because I made good choices, and I managed to find a couple who wanted to take me in and call me theirs, I’m shit out of luck. How is that fair? My parents adopted me when they had three other children, they have to take care of them, they can’t pay for my college. They don’t live in town anymore, I can’t go over there and do laundry or bum free meals off them so I can work less (plus, that’s not how our relationship is anyway).
It bums me out, I’m not a mother (good, because I’m not ready for that), I graduated high school (which personally, I think it would have been more work to skip classes then to just graduate), and I’m lucky enough to have two wonderful new parents, who care about me and are stable enough to actually be people I can rely on if I ever desperately needed help. I don’t think it’s fair.

I like to think I’m fairly lucky. I’ve always felt that way. Whenever I’m desperately in need of help, something always comes up, either out of thin air, or through my own hard work. I was lucky enough to get adopted, as an example (that’s more of an out of thin air example, because that was outside my control if they wanted to have me as a daughter or not). I’m also lucky enough that about 10% of the time when I go looking for help and I don’t qualify for whatever aid I was looking for, there’s someone there who wants to help me anyway. “Well, the only thing that fits our criteria is your age. Sorry. Buuut, here’s my email, if you need help with anything, email me and I can see if I can come up with some idea’.

On a closing note, the background of my laptop is constantly changing from one motivational/inspiring phrase to another. I’d like to end each blog entry with one. Today’s:

"Sometimes, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere; and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself."

-Eddie
AKA
Kennedy

MORE ABOUT KENNEDY.