“Who am I?” It’s a question I’ve been asking myself for years. Born on the Ivory Coast in Africa on December 4th 1985, I remember always being happy around my grandparent’s and the rest of my family, however my childhood did not include my parents.
At the age of 6 years old, I went to live with my mom’s aunt so I could go to school, but instead I became the help. I was emotionally and physically abused by the members of the house. I was sexually abused by the housemaid in exchange for food, breaks, and other privileges. I felt my parents would blame me for the abuse I was experiencing, so I never told anyone. After every abuse I would ask myself, who am I? My response was a girl who will be something in life, a girl who will make a difference in someone’s life! My strength and my joy in life is my ability to love people; this was something I had to hold on to.
Two months before my 15th birthday, I was sent to Charlotte, NC to live with my father who I didn’t know, in a new country, to learn a language I didn’t know anything about except from the songs I heard on the radio. I tried to make the best of my new life, even though I was far away from all the people I knew and loved.
My relationship with my father was not the greatest when I moved to the United States. A teenage girl and a father with whom she doesn’t have a relationship with, is a recipe for disaster! I was kicked out at the age of 17 and was forced to move in with my boyfriend. This didn’t stop me from graduating from High School. I had to prove to myself and everyone else, that I could do it. After we had two children, I was a stay-at-home mother. Then one day, my boyfriend was deported back to Africa. It was in that moment, I had to learn how to work, and do things for my children and myself.
After many hard life lessons and countless nights on the streets and in shelters, I made the decision to call the Department of Social Services and asked them to come get my two sons, Amram and Dianz. I didn’t want my children to be on the streets with me; they deserved so much better. After finding a home for them, the Department of Social Services took me to Florence Crittenton Services of North Carolina. Florence Crittenton empowered me with the life tools and opportunities and I needed to get my boys back, and to provide a better life for them and the baby girl that I was pregnant with at the time. My children gave me the type of wings that an energy drink will never be able to give to anyone.
Now I am a mother of four children: Amram, Dianz, Trinity, and Samir. I am engaged to a great life partner, and he has the most amazing family. I love his family, they have really made me and my children feel like we are a part of the family. I have a great job as a collection agent. I love to think that I am the sweetest collector in America!
At 29 years old, I can almost answer the question “Who I Am”? I am a woman that will make a difference in the lives of women from America to Africa with my faith, my spirit, and my strength along with The National Crittenton Foundation and my BOLD sisters!