135 Years, 135 Stories title image

My journey-25 foster homes to success

SHEMIA, Georgia

I am a former foster care child and I aged out of the system. I was taken from my mother when I was two years old and lived with my grandmother because my father was in the military. To this day I don’t know my mother. When my father came back I went to live with him and my stepmother because it seemed stable, but eventually he abandoned us. So my stepmother raised me until she finished college. Then because we had no place to live she sent me to live with my dad’s family – but I didn’t like that. I wanted to stay with her because she was my mother. After I moved I acted up a lot and they sent me back to her after two years. It wasn’t the same because things had changed for both of us. We couldn’t get along so I ended up in foster care at 14. My placements were very unstable and I can’t tell you how many there were – more than 25. I ran away from a juvenile home and got pregnant when I was 15. After my son, Kaden, was born I was separated from him when was five months old.

I went to Families First’s Second Chance Home for Young Mothers and was able to reunite with Kaden when he was two. We lived there for over a year. While I was there I finished my GED and received therapy because I was depressed and angry. As much as I wanted to be with Kaden, I decided it was better for him to live in a foster home.

Eventually my mother was able to get him out of foster care and he lives with her now and I am still involved in his life. Even though I don’t live with him now I think the time we were able to live together makes all the difference in our relationship. I moved out of the Second Chance home and then started a transitional living program and then moved into my own apartment and started college. In 2009 I got pregnant again with my daughter Honesty.

When I was at Families First I was able to have the family I never had. I have women around me to want to help, who listen and who love me. I’m still in touch with the girls I lived with, those are my sisters and we’re there for each other. When I turned 21, they essentially kicked me out of foster care because I was too old. But I did get help finding a place to live for me and Honesty. Now I am taking classes. I earned an IT certificate and I work my butt off at a retail store.

I’m going to succeed no matter what. I even plan to get Kaden back one day when I can take care of both him and Honesty.

Shemia's Story Photo