Fun Fact #4 – WHAT IS LOVE

4. They never teach you what love is


When everything first happened I used to go to this cafe for months on end trying to figure myself out through words and typing. Every other day or so I would find myself there to work out emotions and steal the free wifi. I suppose it was never really considered stealing tho, huh?

That quaint little cafe kept a hold on me for longer than I could remember. I’m not exactly sure why I kept going back day after day, week after week.. Perhaps it was the sugary caffeine.

I used to sit in the same corner and waste away hours reading, writing and listening to the kind of soulful music that heals your heart because for a while there, when my marriage dissolved, I found myself losing my thirst for life and music was a way to melt into another world. When it first began, it was pretty unexpected. It was one of those things that just happens out of the blue.  At first, you have no idea whats going on until it sneaks up on you, then your suddenly in awe because you could have seen that coming from a mile away if you had paid attention. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been so shocked when my life fell to shit If I knew how to love properly and paid attention to the signs of this sinking ship in the first place. I suppose all of those abandonment issues really took a toll our marriage, I suppose I never really knew how to love anyone.

Even though its been over a year now and things in my life have been better than I could have imagined, I still recall those first few months like it were yesterday. Sometimes, I still dream about those lonely days back when I wandered into that cafe sobbing behind thick shaded sunglasses. Behind the tears and beyond the loneliness I found solace in knowing that I was surrounded by a sea full of faces and a continuously revolving door that never ceased to bring in a flood of chatter. I guess you could say it was sort of relaxing bathing in the existence of busy people as they go randomly about their day without noticing me, and hell! it sure beats sitting at home with nothing to do and no family to turn to.

Sometimes, that cafe still haunts me. Sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and hear lingering chatter from that noisy cafe I used to sit in. I used to find comfort there, Now its just another haunting nightmare I can’t escape.

© 2018 All Rights Reserved America DeFleur

 

Fun Fact #7 – ADULTHOOD

7. They don’t prepare you for adulthood.


With the last of my money, I slid the silver coins across the counter and toward the dark-haired barista. Embarrassed I said, ” Sorry, its all change! I think its $2.55 though”

I was always terrible at counting, I don’t I think ever made it to Algebra. In fact, I was pretty terrible at everything in school, but mostly because I never stayed long enough to retain anything. I guess growing up with shitty parents and bouncing around in foster care will do that to ya! I keep telling myself that even now, 10 years after I emancipated that I’ll be okay. But truthfully, as much as I try. I don’t think I ever will, It’s like this piece of the system is ingrained in my bones. There is still this empty void that lingers behind every smile that seeps from between my lips. It’s almost like a stench really, this foul cloud of emptiness, shame, regret and sorrow that fill the air around me.

“One everything bagel with cream cheese please,” I told her,

I waited for her to finish counting the nickels…

“Eighty-Five, Ninety-Five… Two. Two-Fifty Five, Alright! Thanks”

With a sigh of relief, I made my way back toward the table where I left my daughter on my laptop. She giggled as her tiny fingers pressed the keys rapidly on the keyboard.

“Careful with my laptop kid,” I told her.

Her eyebrows gathered together in the middle of her forehead as she glared at me slightly annoyed, “I know mommy, I’m not a baby. I’m S-I-X” she announced with a fierceness.

“I know, I know” I mumbled as I pulled out my phone and began fumbling through emails and messages from work.

I was tired, overwhelmed and completely unsure of what to do for the next two hours while we waited at the cafe for school to start. A little old woman sat in the corner staring at me with a smile on her face, an adoring smile almost as if she wanted to say: “Aw how cute.  look at that mommy-daughter duo sharing a bagel and cup of Joe at 6′ O clock in the morning”

Like no, Stop Staring. This is not cute. This tiny whining child sitting next to me is not cute right now! and my overly tired morning eyes and scraggly brown hair is nothing to smile at.  Just no.

I wanted to yell it at her, I wanted to tell her to stop staring but instead, I took my half of the bagel and crammed it down my throat begrudgingly, wishing for the day to end even though it just barely began.

I let her play on the computer until about 8 am when it was time to leave for school, and oh goodness did the time go by ever so slowly as she complained every 10.5 seconds. I was cranky, Tired and didn’t get the chance to let my patience meter build up just yet.

“Mommy I’m hungry” she would announce as loudly as possible. I wanted to be sweet and tell her softly, I know baby, but we don’t have money for more food right now, you have to wait until we get to school for breakfast.

I wanted to tell her, but she just kept whining and complaining. She started getting fussy and smacking the keys on my computer, talking loud enough for the whole cafe to hear and each time I would tell her, “Shh let’s use our inside voice” she just kept getting louder and louder…

“BUT WHY MOMMY, I’M just H-U-N-G-R-Y”

“YEA! Me too!”

Guess I’m not a morning person. Fudge sickle.

© 2018 All Rights Reserved America DeFleur

Fun Fact #5 – THE EASY ROAD

Fun Fact #5 – They take the easy road


A close friend of mine once said, “There are two paths to life – The easy one and the hard one, and more than likely if it’s easy then that probably means it isn’t the right choice.”

It’s something I’ll never forget and probably the most important thing I’ve ever heard someone say. Because it was at that moment, I started making decisions that would change the course of my life. I started doing things differently than my parents had done, differently than everyone I had ever known. I’ve watched so many children make choices because they felt like it was their only option.In fact, Most (Not all) of the kids I grew up within the system lacked the knowledge and parental guidance the be successful in adulthood. They were denied the Simple things that were essentially built in for other kids, love. The kind of love every child deserves.

When I emancipated foster care at 18 and was no longer a ward of the court, I told myself I would leave and never look back, that I was going to be a different person than everyone I had seen growing up in the system.I knew that I didn’t want to be like them, I wanted to make a difference I wanted to be the link that broke the chain. I wanted more than anything to be free and in control of my own life and I thought that leaving that part of myself behind was the answer. The day I walked out of those doors and stepped into the world was one of the most defining days of my life.

When you grow up like I did, When you grow up in the system, you learn at a young age that the only person you can depend on is yourself. You constantly question everything and everyone you’ve ever known, and in order to survive you grow up pretty fast. Trust is seemingly nonexistent and you never truly learn what it feels like to be loved. As a kid in the system, there were always decisions that were being made for me, decisions that I had no control over. I was always told that my voice “didn’t matter” because I was too young to decide what was right for me. At least that’s what the social worker told me when I requested emancipation from the court at 16 and they denied me. At the time, I was furious.

HOW DID THEY KNOW WHAT WAS RIGHT FOR ME?

They didn’t, In fact, no one did, because the truth is no one knew how to deal with children in the system back then, I mean can you imagine what it’s like to raise a child that’s been through more trauma than most people have ever experienced their entire lives? It’s difficult, and I know first hand because I was that child and at one point I was a foster mother to my niece when I became an adult.

I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times by now, “Not everyone could be a foster parent, but anyone could help a foster child” and that’s because

Raising a child is difficult.
Raising a child is difficult.
Did I mention that RAISING A CHILD IS FUCKING DIFFICULT!

But as difficult as it may be, it’s also one of the most rewarding things you can experience.There’s so much to worry about, so many things you want to protect them from and sometimes things you can’t. It’s hard, figuring out how to raise a stable loving well-rounded person. So I couldn’t blame people that turned me away after I was dropped off on their doorstep by the social worker. After the multiple homes that fell through and groups homes that never lasted. Good foster homes are hard to find, and not everyone gets lucky. For about a year or so I felt lucky, I thought I found the perfect home with Frances, turned out I was wrong. But that’s okay because When I turned 18 and realized that I was never going to be adopted, I let it sink it. I let it hurt because it made me stronger and I learned that it wasn’t because there was something wrong with me like I had come to believe for years, It was because there wasn’t a right place for me.

I was never given the emotional support or the stability that it takes to raise a child. And that goes for most children in the system. They say “It takes a village to raise a child” But I wasn’t born into a village, I was brought into this world by two people who were incapable of being parents and decided I wasn’t worth the effort.. decided that hurting me was easier. I didn’t have a mother or father to guide me through my teenage years, I didn’t have a home. I had social workers, therapists and probation officers who made decisions for me because they THOUGHT it was for the best, but truth be told, If I could have avoided the therapy sessions, the medication, The multiple foster homes, and the hours I spent locked in that room by myself with those dreadful blue cerulean painted walls then it probably wouldn’t have made me who I am today. Today, I am a strong, smart, brave and fearless young woman looking to make a difference in children’s lives because they are the future and I believe that every child deserves a voice, The kind of voice I never had.

© 2018 All Rights Reserved America DeFleur

Fun Fact #6 – GRIEVING

Fun Fact #6 – GRIEVING


I always felt as though writing can be a fantastic form of healing, It’s a way to express emotion, linger in memories and relive a story over and over again, which for some can be a wonderful coping mechanism. I know it’s been the only way I’ve ever been able to understand myself and evaluate situations. Writing gives me the ability to look back into the past and give life meaning, without being able to express myself through words, I’d likely go crazy lost in my own thoughts, Especially when it comes to my niece. It’s been about 2 years since I last saw kelleigh, but honestly, it still feels like yesterday. I can still hear her voice in the back of my mind, I can still see her smile and hear her call me “momma.”  I’ll always love Kelleigh, in fact, it was the love that I had for her, that pushed me to make one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. It took a long time before I was able to see that the best thing I could have done for her, was give her a better life, a fresh start with people who knew how to help her. Everyone told me that I tried my best and did everything I could, but my best wasn’t good enough. I feel like if you love someone, you won’t hold them back from the life they deserve out of your own selfishness. You’ll let them go because, in the end, that’s what’s right for them and that’s what we did for her, we let her go.

Even knowing all of this, It took a while before I could patch that hole in my heart and it took a while before the sporadic fits of tears that seized my entire body stopped. I was broken and found that writing helped ease the pain. When grieving a loss, any kind of loss… it’s difficult to understand what’s happening internally and it can be confusing because you’re not sure what to do or how to go about things anymore, I know I didn’t. Then one day I came across a post that perfectly describes the different stages of grief. Thank goodness for the internet, I swear! This post helped me understand things from a different perspective, it was marvelous and I really encourage you to read the post HERE: 

It’s one hell of a journey being able to dig into someone else’s mind, There’s a certain kind of beauty in seeing someone when they are vulnerable, which is why I believe that writing is a beautiful tool and I believe more people should exercise their minds with it. So, with that being said, if you’re ready to go on an emotional journey with me check out the rest of my blog. You’ll find my thoughts vary from day to day, One day I could write an entire post describing the sound that gum makes when it sticks to your shoe, or you’ll find me rambling about how much I hate Brussel sprouts. Hell, I might even dive into painful memories and fill a page with some cheesy ass love story. Either way, These thoughts are what makes me who I am, these memories are what’s made me stronger. My past is proof that you can survive even the deepest cuts. Even though I’m stronger now, every now and then I find myself swimming through a hundred foot wave but I guess that’s just a part of life and that’s what will keep the posts coming! That 100ft wave metaphor makes more sense when you read THIS POST, seriously. Read it.

And for anyone grieving a loss, the best advice I can give you is time. TIME heals all wounds or at least teaches us how to live with the pain, as cliche as that sounds I promise it’s true.

© 2018 All Rights Reserved America DeFleur

Fun Fact #3 – NOT GOOD ENOUGH

3. Foster kids will always wonder “Why wasn’t I good enough?”


I’m smart. I’m funny and I’m a little shy, but once you get to know me and we get past the awkward stages I’m pretty much one of the best people you’ll ever know. And I don’t say that with a cockiness. I say that with a wholehearted honesty. I’m not judgmental at all, I’ve seen too much and have experienced so much more than you can imagine that it taught me to be appreciative

But I’m also naive and at one point I was young and stupid.

At one point, I was so afraid of being alone that I held onto to the first boy who gave me his hand. I had no one when I turned 18, No parents to teach me basic life skills, no friends to guide me. I was so terrified of everything ahead of me and not sure how to cope with being alone in this big world. I was 18 and no longer a ward of the court, I had nowhere to go.

Unexpectedly, this beautiful boy took me in and kissed me sweetly so I loved him and stayed, never looking back.

I told myself marrying him was a good idea because Well! I was pregnant and it sure beat sleeping in trees at the park. We had a lot of good times back then.

  • Back when life was simple and we didn’t have to be productive adults.
  • Back when all we worried about was ourselves
  • Back when we didn’t pay rent
  • Back when jobs were just for fun
  • Back when we could ride bikes all day and have picnics in the park
  • Back when we weren’t sick of each other
  • Back when love was simple
  • Back when love was restless

Not the restless-I’m-bored-shatter-your-soul kinda LOVE.
But the innocent and sweet want-to-love-you-all-the-time-i-need-and-miss-you kinda LOVE.

I miss that feeling.

My daughter is the closest thing to real love that I’ve ever known. “I suppose that’s why all us foster kids get knocked up so young huh? I know that’s what your thinking – because its true. Most kids HAVE kids because they are

1. uneducated
2. lonely
3. want someone to love them

how terribly sad is that? Young women running around creating babies to fill that emotional void. I guess if we are all being honest here, I was one of them.

“Did you know that Young women in foster care and those who have “aged out” are more likely to experience teenage pregnancy than their peers in the general population; repeat pregnancies by age 19 are also common.” (I was also 19)

Even still, I would never trade her for the world. If there was a god, and he came down here ready to strike our souls! I would make sure to sacrifice myself so that my baby could live. I couldn’t bear the thought of anything bad happening to her. In fact, I’m stressed out and worried to bits EVERYTIME she is away from me. I don’t even like taking her school some days.

what if something happens and I’m not there to protect her? She’s too precious, she’s perfect.

She’s not judgmental, in her eyes I have no flaws. She’s young and her beautiful innocence inspires me, she’s the reason for everything I do and will continue to do until the end of life as we know it. I wish there were more people like her in this world. Sweet, Caring, Generous loving and just kind people.

Sometimes I feel this overwhelming sadness wash over me when I’m holding her hand though. If I could love her this much, IF PEOPLE! HUMAN PEOPLE are capable of loving their little creations THIS MUCH…

Then why wasn’t I good enough? Why didn’t my parents love me enough to stay? and How the fuck did I end up in the system alone.

Most foster kids will always wonder “Why wasn’t I good enough?”

© 2018 All Rights Reserved America DeFleur

Fun Fact #4 – LOSS

4. They never teach you what its like to lose someone that you love.


I had a dream of him last night, I saw us together in a moment that was beyond wonderful.

There we were walking alongside a beautiful river on a cold winter morning, With gloves on our hands and scarfs wrapped around our necks, we walked in sync giggling along the path beside the river’s edge. The sound of rushing water softly echoed in the background, thankfully keeping my nerves at bay. There was a peacefulness about the water that ran downstream. For a moment I thought I would pass out or fall over as this nervous tension rose from the tips of my toes and towards the base of my neck.

For a moment I couldn’t breathe and suddenly my body felt extremely light, luckily he had placed his hand over mine and squeezed lightly, almost as if to say,

“Are you okay”

His touch was comforting, and it kept me grounded. His voice was warm and sweet like we had never been apart.

Chatting, I walked with him slowly as we stared beyond the river and at the sun rising in the eastern skyline. As the rays of light spread through the atmosphere above us, illuminating the shadows that surrounded us, I took a deep breath and inhaled. I wanted the moment to last forever.

As we walked, he told me sweet nothings and his silly jokes were lighthearted and amusing. he was so delightful, I wanted to kiss him and just then, he suddenly stopped in the middle of our conversation and pulled me close. The tip of his nose brushed mine as he swept me into a passionate kiss,  I wrapped my arms around him and his hands found their place alongside my waist as he held with a firm but gentle grip.

“I miss you” I whispered in his ear.

“I know,” he replied.

His warm breath against my body melted my core as I ran my fingers through his hair kissing him.


Moments later I awoke in a puddle of tears wishing I could go back to sleep to see him once more. I just needed to see him one more time, all of the moments we’ve shared were lost somewhere in the back of my mind.

They never teach you what its like to lose someone that you love. Instead, you bounce through the system broken and confused experiencing more loss than anyone should ever have to endure. Then as you become an adult and move in and out of relationships as you get older, the pain of that loss sticks around longer than it should.

Rather than learning how to accept it, you become infuriated that it keeps happening AGAIN and AGAIN. So you cut people out and close yourself off, because at least THEN… You won’t have to feel like that again,

At least not until you fall asleep and become lost in another vivid dream that is..

© 2018 All rights Reserved America DeFleur