“Only God loved me unconditionally and He didn’t judge me the way man judged me. He believed in me when America didn’t deem me worthy. God …….He is my father and my best friend. He is my confidant and my hero. He is my teacher. He laughs with me and cries with me. He heals me and He wipes away my tears. He is there when I’m alone, and He waits patiently when I forget He’s there. He’s all knowing and all giving. He pushes me when I need pushing, and He lets me fall when I need humbling. His love is unconditional and His love is everlasting. But sometimes it’s hard when your only father is an invisible father, especially when you are a child……. a foster child.” – Helen Ramaglia, From Foster to Fabulous
I know this might be a controversial message, however, I am often asked, “How were you able to overcome a childhood that horrific? What was that one ingredient that catapulted you to success?”
Every time I am asked this question, the answer is always the same, God. I have search my soul many times in quest of this answer and every time I always return to this same answer. I’ve tried many times to eliminate the God factor, but I can’t.
Granted, I have found temporary mentors though out my life with whom I silently aligned myself with and learned from. But the only constant variable in my life was ‘God’. My personal opinion, and I repeat, my personal opinion is that God is a very important tool in the lives of foster children.
At 10 years old, my father disposed of my in the woods in another state. He threw me out like an unwanted animal. I sat alone in the woods, cold, hungry, and terrified. I was on my knees quietly yelling and screaming at God. I say quietly, because up to that point, my childhood had been so horrific that I stopped talking.
So there I was on my knees, yelling and screaming, balling with my head in my hands sobbing and asking God, “Why, why do you hate me so much? Why do you hate me so much that you would give me a life like this? I’m just a little girl. What have I done so horrible that you could hate this much? I try to be a very good girl, I make good grades and I don’t say anything at all so I won’t say the wrong thing. I don’t understand, what have I done to cause you to hate me this much?”
God was quiet that day, but he was there so I had someone to give all that anger and pain to.
When I was a 17 year old girl sitting on my bed with a handful of sleeping pills, again, it was He with whom I pleaded with. At 35 years old, when I had made a mess of my life, I once again found myself on my knees, sobbing, with my head in my hands asking God to help me put my life back together.
You see, there was no one else with whom I could give all that anger to. There was no one else with whom I felt safe enough with, or comforted by. When life was at its darkest, it was always God who was there for me. He was the only one I could count on. He truly is the foundation of who I have become. He got me through the hopelessness and the darkness. He was there for me when my reality was that man wasn’t.
I am very involved with former foster children and God seems to be that common thread between success and failure. You might not believe in God, but for a foster child, God often times IS that one ingredient that allows them to become a success story.
I believe that the God factor gives a foster child the feeling of being loved, valued and wanted. Even if it is temporary, or merely small bursts of feeling loved, it might be that one burst that gives the child the strength to continue the treacherous journey of foster life.
I’m not saying there is or isn’t a God, but if believing there is is a tool that enables a foster child to turn failure into success……… why not!
Helen Ramaglia is a foster alumni who became a foster/adoptive parent. She is the founder and Director of Fostering Superstars, a Congressional Award Winner for her work with foster children and is the author of “From Foster to Fabulous”. She is a popular speaker, trainer and advocate for foster children.
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