Living With Kin: Belonging and Gaining Insight, WA

Woman wearing a sash and crown smiling.One of the hardest parts about being in foster care was being away from my family. I went into care at the age of 5. Until that point, I had never been away from my family.

I looked forward to visits with my family. I would get to see my siblings, mom, and even my aunt and uncle. It gave me hope and something to look forward to going home. My foster parents were always respectful and encouraged the relationship I had with my family. It was not easy not being with them. But knowing they still loved me meant everything to me. And I felt it was okay to love my family because of the support I had from the Johnsons.

During my time in care, I lived with one of my aunts, my mom’s sister. It wasn’t always easy, but I really enjoyed living with my family. It was the first time I had been in kinship care. I didn’t know what to expect, but I made the best of my situation. I was a teenager and was starting to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Living with my family gave me belonging but it also gave me insight; I was able to learn the factors that caused me to be placed in care. Because of this, I decided I was going to do things differently in my life—finish school, delay parenthood, and go after my dreams. I also knew this path would allow me to not only help myself but my family, too.