This series features former foster youth who are Youth Voice writers responding to the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which removed the constitutional right to abortion, leaving the legal decision to each state.
I should not be here.
You may want to tell me, “Don’t think like that! Your life is valuable. There’s a purpose for you being here.” And maybe you are right, but I still should have been aborted.
Let’s go back several years prior to the winter of 1999-2000, the time of my conception. My mother was a teenager. She was a part of a toxic and broken family filled with unhealthy addictions of every kind. It was a family filled with lies and secrets and violence, a family that certainly was not strong enough to support any other humans. She met an older man who she thought was her savior, but it would be much too late when she finally figured out he was narcissistic, abusive, conniving and manipulative.
Eventually, she turned to drugs and alcohol to try numb the pain of her unbearable life. She would cut herself, but eventually turned to tattoos because that’s a more acceptable way to self-harm. She would break to the point of never being able to put herself back together again; then, she would bear children. This was a huge mistake; her life was already in shambles. She was already a part of a generational cycle of tragedy and brokenness and now, with her four children, the cycle continues.
Between several miscarriages, due to stress and being beaten relentlessly, she would have two daughters. Somewhere after the second child, she left and found love in another man. He was better for her, no doubt, but this would fall apart as well when she found out she was pregnant again. She went back to the father of her other children. Throughout her pregnancy, she had no idea who the father was. She assumed it was the guy who was better for her, and chose a name for me that would honor him. But the day I was born, she changed her mind because I looked similar to the man who, unfortunately, happens to be my father. He denied I was his, despite paternity tests showing a 99.9% match. I was cursed with daddy issues straight out of the womb.
Right after my mom birthed me, she left. I was introduced to abandonment issues at just a few hours old. She returned a few days later, but that would not be the last time she left. From the ages before my consciousness kicked in until age 6 when DCF came and took my broken but comfortable life away, I witnessed my mom fall further into a hole she would never be able to come out of. She was an addict, not only to drugs and alcohol, but to men. Men who would beat and assault her.
I was about 5 when I witnessed a man trying to stab my mother. At this age I constantly asked why my dad didn’t want me. When I was 5 I also experienced homelessness for the first time. We slept outside in the cold covered by an old carpet my mom found somewhere. When DCF came, I was so confused. I was scared and I fought them with every bit of strength I had in my malnourished 6-year-old body. My mom promised she would come back and that would be the first time I was introduced to trust issues.
I won’t go into grave detail about foster care and what it did to me, but I will explain enough for you to understand what happens when you take away a woman’s choice, when you make abortions unobtainable and way too expensive, and what becomes of a child who should have never been here.
At age 6, I was sexually assaulted for the first time.
At age 8, I was physically abused for the first time. I was with my great-grandmother who hated me just because I was born. She would have killed me had I not escaped. She left me inside a house my cousins set on fire.
At age 9, I found out my mom attempted suicide.
At age 12, I followed in her footsteps. I learned to self-harm to stop the pain of being on a planet I never belonged in.
At age 14, I learned I was gay, but decided to hide it because I learned I wouldn’t belong even more. I let boys have their way with me because it was better than being even more unloved than I already was.
At age 15, I was adopted by a narcissistic, abusive pedophile and his distant husband. He was into boys, though, so lucky me, I guess.
On my 18th birthday, I was abandoned and went right back with my mother, where it all started, where it should have ended. She hadn’t changed one bit. The only difference was that I was smarter now and more damaged so reconciliation didn’t last long.
I am now 21. I have been homeless, sexually assaulted, abused and abandoned in the last three years of my entering adulthood. I do not think it will ever stop. I am trying to make something of myself. I am trying to be the one who breaks this generational cycle. I am trying to heal all these parts of me that everyone else broke. I am trying so hard to keep my head above water, but I shouldn’t have to.
I should not be here. I do not mean that from a suicidal standpoint. I mean it logically. Children should not be born into toxic, broken families. Children should not be placed into foster care. There should be no foster care.
Children should be wanted, cherished, loved, stable, safe and healthy. I was never any of those things in my entire childhood. When you tell me things like “everything happens for a reason,” you are telling me that I deserved all the torture, pain and suffering. You are telling me that everyone who had their way with me, who beat the hell out of me, who left me, who gave up on me, was right? You are telling me that a child was supposed to be born broken, and then be broken even more, and for what? So someone else can be inspired? To invalidate someone else’s pain because mine is bigger? I NEVER signed up to be someone’s survival guide, and I never would.
The truth is simple: I should have been aborted.