The Context for my Writing

I am an advocate for foster youth and practice my creativity through writing and art-making.  As a survivor of trauma, writing is a way to heal and express my story, My goal is to develop meaningful relationships with my community and find ways to lift and inspire others to overcome barriers. My background in fine art and creative art therapy guides me to empower others in cultivating their dreams. I am a soul-inspired educator, mother, and artist seeking to use my voice to teach others about resiliency and well-being.  @soulinspiredkcr

*Dreamer By Night Magazine shared my blog post!

December 11, 1991, is when I entered foster care. This is a small part of my story…

I grew up thinking, I just want to make it one more day…..Not because of a typical adolescence, but rather, I was abused and violated every morning and evening at home, during 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade. On my best days, I pretended I was okay. On my worst days, I experienced suicide ideation and wished I had never been born.

When I was in 8th grade, my family was being sued by a previous landlord. My mom wanted me to lie in court to the judge about what happened to the rental property by my family. My mom threatened me. She said I would regret my choices. But I did not lie. I went to school after the hearing was over and it later that day, my mom and step-father picked me up early. It was weird, but I knew when the secretary called my name to come to the office, my life was going to change. I had this feeling of fear, but also freedom. My feet were heavy and every step felt like a mile, but my heart just felt a little lighter.

I didn’t know how much it was going to hurt- the way my mom confronted me, her denial of my truth, and her ultimate rejection of me as her daughter. Love was absent, but it had never felt present. The level of hurt that built up from my childhood- it was a tsunami, and I nearly survived.

My mom chose my abuser that day. I believed she knew I was being hurt and did nothing about it. Yet, when I refused to lie for her in court, she orchestrated my removal from her home, forever. For her, it was about getting rid of me. For me, it was the final day I had to live in fear of being violated.

I knew she didn’t have any love towards or for me. She called me into the kitchen and unfolded a piece of notebook paper. I had written on pieces of paper for years and hid them in my room. I wrote my truth. I asked for help. I wanted to be rescued. Heard. Yet, on December 11, 1991, she read my words, not with a plan to defend and stand up for me, but rather, she protected her husband, my abuser.

The pain was unbearable and it was unfair, but the better outcome was foster care. I am thankful that I had another chance at a better life. My heart was forever broken because I was estranged from my brothers. Those relationships were impossible to restore, but I am trying now, with my middle brother, and this year, we are going to celebrate Christmas together for the first time in our adult lives.

I went into foster care before Christmas, so there are a lot of triggers. The hurt has decreased but it still happened. I am thankful for this day to acknowledge that I am more healed than broken. That’s my story of faith in many ways. We are broken and by grace, we get to move forward and heal, when we let go of the hurt (what seems like a little at a time).

I share my story to remind you that in all those years, I smiled and hid the truth. I denied my truth because I pretended everything was okay. This year, there are kids out there in need of more than a wrapped gift under the tree….. I hope we listen and do good when it really matters.

Kimberly C. Rhyan

IG @soulinspiredkcr


360° Moments: Healing

As I prepare to start another chapter of my life, I reflect over my journey; at times it is more of a labyrinth than a path, but I restrategize when I center myself within meditation rather than hang on the fringe of mayhem. Joy is a subtle reminder that I am still here.

In 2017, my world was turned upside down in so many ways. Losing my father to cancer, quitting my job, and relocating to an unfamiliar city were significant changes in my life. Moving was a chance at a new begininning. However, it would take several years of going through the motions to figure out how to get reclaim my life and heal the heartache.

Between December 2011 and January 2017, I lost my paternal grandmother, brother, mother, grandfather, two very dear friends, and my father. I also experienced physical violence on a date, and had PTSD and complex PTSD.

This familiar ache reminds me of 2002 when my grandma died. She was the only person who was in my life, my whole life. She wasn’t my grandma, she was my grandmom. I decided to write joy on a rock and kept it with me to remind me of the happiness she brought into my life; she would always be with me.

As a mother and survivor, my healing continue to take time. Peace & joy were not immediate. Far from it, but underneath the mask I wore, there was heart-work to complete. My steps forward were unbearable at times, but my spirit, heart,and soul, were unbreakable.

Losing too much within a short time, triggered self-doubt, pain, and anger. I was slowly moving through the stages of grief, but any remaining hope was deteriorating; my mental and spiritual health needed attention. And I decided to start an antidepressant for the first time in my life. And I was afraid of suicide ideation because other members of my family had failed attempts. I had a lot of pride about my survivorship; it was driven by resiliency and determination. I finally accepted medication as my pathway forward and didn’t have to be embarrassed or ashamed.

I felt peace. I wasn’t numb, but aware. I was not alone but connected to a circle. My grief wrestled tirelessly and finally danced with joy. Was it okay to feel freedom to heal, after being lost in so much loss?

Loss is not a stranger. Entering foster care at age 2 and 14, was difficult in so many ways. You figure out how to start over. And there are promises made that life will be easier but it is still hard. No more abuse, but there are nightmares and after shocks. You don’t wish to be touched. You still want to hide in the closet, even though you are safe from your abuser. There is an ever pressing belief system, that you should just be grateful for what you have VS. what you don’t have to face anymore.

I am healing, but feel grief and pockets of relief while carrying 10 gallon buckets filled painful memories and flashbacks with my past.

There are unusual expectations that once time has passed, that life will return to normal. But when nothing in life has ever felt like a traditional path, that’s where life tends to be a maze when you would prefer a ladder. There is never a typical grieving period.

What continued to make my life complicated in 2020 was suddenly losing a job during the COVID-19 pandemic. I managed to keep moving forward, because my antidepressant was working. When I look back, I am thankful for the doctor that helped me holistically. I was able to take everything I learned and made holistic adjustments in my life. Every degee of my 360° journey prepared me to reclaim my purpose to step into my future.

Healing is breathing when you feel like you lost your breath.

Healing is sleeping or moving when you feel too numb to move.

Healing is silent, but may appear as laughter or joy.

Healing doesn’t have to look like gratefulness, but may be expessed as gratitude.

Healing is creating and writing, but may also look like destroying journals or other artifacts from the past.

Healing isn’t time sensitive; it may take months, years, or decades.

Healing is not a prescription but may take an antidepressant and a copay.

Healing is growing, but can also appear stagnant and inconclusive.

Healing is a step forward, and sometimes invisible steps forward.

Healing is a soul-inspired journey and I am never giving up.

Mourning Waves

So much ache floating

within these empty days

between 1 and 365

behind my third eye,

I can feel the loss

Calculated and cruel,

Memories collect

pieces of driftwood

An emotional dam

immobilizes purpose

every current pushes the past up,

close enough

to be detonated

under indivisible




under and over

my rib cages

tying tightly

breaking all

before the fall

Questions and missed salutations

stack themselves as barriers

1000 times heavier

than an albatross




Family trees

Trying to rise

From lies

And burnt lives

There is only one

Escape route

Deep below

Healing wounds

And permanent


A former adolescent self

folds adjacent to hope

Like origami

Carefully dismantling

nuclear turmoil


ache and shadows

Tilting the universe

And untying the equator

Releasing its own equilibrium

To free fall and orbit


Unhinged depths

Just beginning

To be understood

Broken hearts

Lost souls

Wrecked lives

Left behind

To reconcile

past and present

Discarded promises

vehement screams







the ground






I will





for the




Kimberly C. Rhyan









to heal-

December 24, 2012 —

Goodbye grandma

January 13, 2014 —

Goodbye mom

January 10, 2017 —

Goodbye dad

can you feel that?

Sometimes, without warning,

I cannot breathe,

But each time,

I get pulled under,

I remember

to keep healing-

And hope


Keeps me tethered

To my dreams

Just beyond blue skies.


360° Moments: Reflection

This year, I hope to share 360° moments. Yesterday, I hung new posters in my K-5 classroom which also serves as the library. In my Husky Paw Pride class (social-emotional learning class), we have learned about responding to set-backs & developing a growth mindset. The library makes me remember my roots each day.
In my SEL class, I shared how I was held back in 3rd grade; my challenges helped me to grow and get better. After 4th grade, I decided to read 500 books. I remember stuttering & trying to read. My brothers helped me reach my goal & the local paper featured my family; that summer has always been one of my biggest and proudest accomplishments.
A few years ago, I lost both my biological parents. Just a couple days before my dad passed, he made sure to add me to his Ancestory account (priorities 🙂). I am able to see all of his hard work & see my family tree for the first time. When I was a kid, my mom never let me complete any family tree projects. She said our family was to “messed” up. I always completed alternative projects. After my dad died, I saw the big picture; he traced his paternal side back many generations, all the way back to Jacob Rhyan (1800-1875). Coincidentally, my son’s middle name is JACOB! What a great surprise to uncover, thanks to my dad.
During Dec. 2021, I faced a few challenges. My car battery died, I lost my mentee, and over Christmas, I had COVID. It was a difficult month & even borrowed money to buy a test. I was hoping for zero extra expenses because of lost work pay.
I am thankful. My family gave me a new car battery. Friends sent sympathy flowers. On Christmas Eve, friends dropped off dinner & gifts; on Christmas day, another friend dropped off supplies and a giftcard for my son. We wouldn’t have made it without everyone’s help. It is not lost on me that my son stayed healthy while we quarantined over the entire break.
On New Year’s Eve, I took a selfie (grey hair included); this wasn’t just a selfie, but a snapshot of what happens when we embrace help & healing when we are sick & hurting.
We are stronger together.
Everything is going to be okay.


Live soul-inspired and give your best to everyone.

Flight Forward

Over the past 48 hours, I have seen some posts comparing 2022 to a new flight. The following memories flooded the timeline of my heart-

When I was a kid, my grandmother would play this Flight Final album every time I spent the night. She was a very faithful Nazarene/Christian.

This record tells a story of taking a flight and talks about being ready (or not ready) for death.  As a kid, the narrative/message puzzled me more than it scared me.

I was already fearful of this life, because I was sexually abused from 11-14. I questioned God more than I believed, and my doubt was built upon fear of being abused daily and nightly. It was my step-father’s abuse and my mother’s lack of action to defend me that convinced me to question God’s love.

I remember when I was 13 and I experienced a conversion and testified as a believer. I cried at the church alter but didn’t whisper a word about my abuse. My belief was centered around being saved from my abuser(s).

I prayed for God to rescue me. My heart hoped but my life didn’t change for 7 months. I prayed & was violated within the same breadth.

Later, it was a youth pastor that reported my abuse to the police. I was placed in foster care and my prayers changed from being rescued to reunification with my siblings, which happened once. I found protection but peace was missing.

My heart always felt broken, but yearned for healing. I prayerfully searched for peace but I was emotionally wounded and scarred. I played charades, pretending to be fine when I was actually harmed. So when I became a Christian, I learned to be “fine,” when I was still hurting inside. It was easier to profess than progress wholly forward.

I knew love because of my grandmother. I felt God’s love through her hands. I knew she wanted to prepare my heart. I know she prayed for me, to the day &  hour she left this earth on her own final flight.

In my forties, I search for understanding, not out of fear, but from hope that was cultivated from my grandmother’s prayers. I am not detoured but seeking & learning.

May we each live with purpose & authentically progress to grow & heal during 2022.

Just a little perspective.


You X the spot where I don’t want to be.

Even in the light, you sneak around it and make it impossible to feel safe and in the worst of situations, you completely cover it up like it never existed. Anxiety is very sneaky and I know it is coming. I am its prey.

The irony is how my insta-happy photographs do not capture everything. During one of recent joyful trips, I experienced a panic attack that left me wiping away tears, while I was hiding in the bathroom to protect others from seeing me so defenseless.

Stigma sarcastically insinuates how anxiety doesn’t have validity because we have all been through something tough and most people get over it, so anxiety launches grenades and asks,

“Why can’t you just get over it?”

“Why do you constantly act the victim?”

“Don’t you know this is your fault?”

There are moments when I can’t remember basic things and the reality is that anxiety is
wrestling for my attention because I feel mentally exhausted; there are times when it is difficult to bounce back but I am fighting trauma dating back to the day I was born.

There are instances where I check, double-check and tripple-check electric outlets just to make sure nothing bad is going to happen and then I get into my car, only to go back inside and check one more time. Anxiety just sits back and has a good laugh.

I literally have moments where I just hate the way I am feeling and I have to push through because someone is counting on me and I cannot give up or tag out or quit. I just take a deep breadth and exhale all the chaos trying to make me to lose my sh*t.

Anxiety has this way of speaking bold-face lies and sabotaging potential – potential of a job, relationship, friendship, opportunity and/or possibility. People who judge me need to reevalute their hearts, but for the people who love me, thank you for never giving up on me.

And anxiety has cruel intentions. It tries to convince me that because I failed once, I must be a permanent failure. It constantly presses me into a corner of a boxing ring that I cannot be ejected. Anxiety forces me to box my way out, but I manage to only relocate to the middle of the ring, which imagine, is not more safe at all. No matter where I stand in the ring, a fight is a fight is a fight. Arms up. Defenses raised. Heart dismantling again. Prepared to be defensive, it is hard to believe what life could be like without anxiety. Where is the peace? Where can I find a white flag?

Let me say it another way.

Anxiety has triggers. It happens to you without your permission.  You strive for constant composure and togetherness but at times it feels like everything is falling apart. It takes resilience to decide not to let self-doubt sabotage any potential of success. It takes hope to break through fear and anxiety, but over time, it can distintegrate your confidence and exhume the past. It mercilessly takes every bad decision and every lesson learned and turns it into one hell of a mental parade of ache and agony that needs deflated. I have to choose to let it go and preserve my energy.

Some may say that anxiety is all in your head and that you simply have to renew your mind, but anxiety can be a mental shredder that takes positivity and destroys it with a tsunami of dis-belief that literally reinstates untruths.

It’s not fair how a simple thing can become a very complicated something while making you feel like nothing.

This is anxiety. It kicks you in the shin and while you hold your ankle and wonder what could feel worse, anxiety kicks you in the gut and while you are hugging yourself from the pain, anxiety will show no remorse or compassion while it proceeds to kicks you in the head. Anxiety doesn’t write rain checks. It is always ready for purchase, even when the account has a zero balance.

When I post that perfect Instagram picture, just realize that picture represents all these words and a thousand more…

I cope. 

I am healing.

I am working on myself. 

Anxiety isn’t laziness; it doesn’t care if I care. It doesn’t complete an assessment to determine its path of destruction. It just comes, as an unsuspecting setback and it sucks the life out of you and tries to defeat you in the ring.

Depending on how I view myself…

I choose to let it go.


I just hold on for dear life and hope it doesn’t wipe me out.

The real message:

Recovery from trauma is possible.

It is strengthened by relational resiliency, so when we fall down, we have to ask for help. And when the tears come, it feels good to have people in OUR corner. I am thankful for the compassionate people in my life that have supported me during every single battle round and kept me from complete defeat. I am surviving, thriving and arriving because I am working on my growth strategy and you can too.

I strive to lead with purpose & seek to fulfill my soul-inspired mission by helping others affirm and celebrate their journey forward.

In closing, I clearly have rough moments but I am okay. Those tough moments are opportunities to be refined, but they don’t define me!

But please check on that one friend…who you know is struggling but may not want anyone to know…


  1. How honest are you with yourself and others about your anxiety?
  2. How do you cope with your anxiety?
  3. Will you commit yourself to journaling or meditating to ease your anxiety?

Closing Affirmation:

Anxiety happens but don’t let it deter you from living your best life. And a better life may feel different a year from now, but just start with today.


Kimberly is an experienced speaker, trainer and consultant that teaches and inspires universities, schools, organizations, foster care agencies, foster youth and families to practice resilience strategies via storytelling, creative arts and heart work. Her passion is to empower individuals and organizations to succeed!

Please contact in regard to booking your next event and/or consulting services.

Relational Resiliency & Foster Care Awareness Month

For the past four weeks, I have been doing something for ME and I have to thank my friend because she is babysitting my son and  making it possible for me to take a 6-week class on Thursdays. It just so happens to be Foster Care Awareness Month and my class is about Relational Resiliency (Hosted by “The Hive”).

I signed up for the class because I thought it would enhance my perspective and practices at work. But it has also provided a safe and authentic space for me to be ME an so much more:

  • As a bonus, I feel like my son and I are part of a community with other families. I believe that Carter has a village (here in Cincinnati) that embraces and cares for the both of us.
  • Guess what? I can finally breathe, after 20 months of living here. Say what!?

My class has been opening the windows of my soul and inspired me to expand the periphery of my heart… and it keeps me aligned with the daily reflection process to acknowledge that heart work is hard work and that we really do need each other.

More about Relational Resiliency….

I have always been a night owl and when I think about time itself as a resiliency factor in my journey, I recently stepped back and took a big long pause…. I considered how much time that it has taken to heal, forgive, grow, thrive, and finally arrive…

I have been specifically recalling how much time it took to reconcile with my bio mom and how for ten years I didn’t speak a single word to her and then one day, I showed up with my son. And then about 18 months later, she was diagnosed with brain cancer. And I was angry because I wanted answers to my life’s questions. But in the midst of hurt and heartbreak, I had to let go of my questions to just forgive her and make peace with my past. And people ask me all the time, “how were you able to forgive and move forward?”

I believe the passage of time and the wisdom from waiting my whole life for this moment, helped me repair the rupture. It wasn’t easy. I knew since my mom was adopted that she came into this world feeling unloved and unwanted and I didn’t want her to leave this world thinking she wasn’t loved or wanted.

And the rupture was deep and wide. Just this week I recalled the day I went into foster care and it was the same day as a court hearing where my mom asked me to lie and I refused to tell the version of the story she wanted and it was on this day she was pissed at me. And it was on this day she decided to find a note in my room, the same room that I had been hiding notes for 6 months. My mom cleaned my room every day and left items that were out of place, on my bed. And so I know she must have found other notes and ignored them. But on this day, I defied her, & she chose to find a note and my life changed forever. She was suppose to protect me on so many levels and she failed me and she set me up for failure.

This is the mother who said, “Don’t make me choose between my husband and you, because I will always choose my husband.”

Understanding resiliency has allowed me to appreciate time as a way I have recovered through my foster care journey. I am continually processing my trauma and adjusting my practices to prevail. It’s never just one and done. It’s about never giving up.

I look back over my life and I feel blessed instead of cursed. I walk away with lessons learned instead of feeling burned. I look forward and know hope despite all the hurt. I am not just a survivor, I am an over-comer and advocate for you.  I am here to say, “You got this too.”

As a result of the past year and specifically, the last month,  I definitely have a better idea about the difference I seek to make every day-

Update on my goals & a Few Announcements

Today is the last official day of Foster Care Awareness Month and I want to make some special announcements (if you are still reading….).

When I started this year, I had very three specific goals in mind- 1) I wanted to gain three new clients, 2) speak in five different states,  3) publish my memoir and 4) launch a not-for profit. I’m excited to share that I have four new clients and I have been invited to speak in four states this year (of course, I am including Ohio). Finally, this August, I hope to find out if my memoir will be picked up by a publisher, or else, I will choose to self-publish.

The memoir I have been writing for two whole years is finally, finally wrapping up this month, just in time for my 42nd birthday.  One of the reasons that I have been stalling is that I want to start a foundation and allow 100% proceeds from my book sales to help fund other foster youth to follow their dreams.

I seek to broaden opportunities to grown inter-generational foster youth’s talents through the arts, educational scholarships and mentoring circles. More details will be forthcoming this summer/fall about this new network!

In closing, it is important to share my vision because I believe you have to name your goals to make them a reality. This is really happening and it is not just a dream!

Closing Question:

What’s your dream and what are you willing to do, to make it happen?

Closing Affirmation:

You got this!

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. (Lao Tzu)



Kimberly is an experienced speaker, trainer and consultant that teaches and inspires universities, schools, organizations, foster care agencies, foster youth and families to practice resilience strategies via storytelling, creative arts and heart work. Her passion is to empower individuals and organizations to succeed!

Please contact in regard to booking your next event and/or consulting services.

Purposefully Playing the Hand that You’re Dealt




May is National Foster Care Month. Foster care is more than a label & Foster youth are NOT a statistic.

This month and all through
the year, may we foster strength and humanity by celebrating foster care voices.

Voices of Foster Strength: I am sharing my own journey!🎉

This week, I stepped out of my comfort zone ( I am an intravert) and conversed with a Humanist, someone who believes in the necessity of kindness as an expression of community. I re-learned that within community, we can just be ourselves, hopefully without judgement, too much self-criticism or fear.

Fear of what? Rejection. Isolation. And being less than.

And I suppose that’s why I reached out for conversation in the first place. I thought a conversation would be helpful, so I could better navigate my path in life. I was in search of wisdom and insight. Ultimately, I was curious and hopeful that something could be gained from sharing our stories, because something about his story resonated with mine.

And throughout the conversation, I felt this heaviness being lifted slowly as I realized how much fear I had been holding onto because I had become attached to guilt and uncertainty.

And I finally accepted that my guilt and uncertainty wasn’t necessary. Over the course of my life, I  had developed coping mechanisms (with good intentions), which simultaneously made me feel like a constant failure for not measuring up.

So what about the hand I was dealt? No matter how much my cards were valued, I made matters worse, due to my actions or inactions, which only served to increase my anxiety.

Where did my anxiety start? All throughout my life, I was hoping for parents to love me unconditionally.  My anxiety showed up in school when I couldn’t focus. It revealed itself when I wouldn’t hug or kiss my own family. I lived in fear for my life and anxiety poured out of my pores in my body.  I didn’t trust anyone’, not did I feel loved. Which is why my entrance into foster care at age 14 convinced me that it was up to me to break the cycle. I was going to live my life differently and make better decisions than my parents. They gave me up, and my mother’s mother gave her up. I decided that I would never have kids to prevent myself from making their mistakes.

And at age 33, I was staying the weekend with my HS English teacher (who inspires me to write and share my story) and she asked me if I ever wanted to have kids and I quickly said, “No.”

And ironically, my cards at the time were not visible, but I was most likely pregnant at that very moment. I was also in desperate straits and broken. I was living a facade and lost. I was existing in complete darkness. My remaining shell of a person was blockaded by self loathing, insecurity and fear of disappointing the people who loved me; and frequently wanted to hurt myself, but I was determined to push through the pain anyway. Externally I was a survivor and thriving in a career, but internally, I was undoubtedly failing and crashing into a downward spiral of self-destruction.

Even in the midst of my depression and anxiety, I wouldn’t give up.  I didn’t want to become another statistic. I fought through my anxiety everyday but still experienced frequent panic attacks. They were regular episodes in my life. I am being very honest about my mental health because the facade I had carefully built had limits.  I had coped by binge-eating and causing self-harm. Taking away all these extra paragraphs, it would be easier to just write that I didn’t love myself. 

Despite my worst efforts,  I kept holding on, no matter how empty I felt. And deep down, I hated myself.

I thought my fall from “grace” was permanent exile.  I didn’t think I was worthy and defaulted to one unhealthy relationship after another.

It hurts so much that my son doesn’t have two parents in his life;  I haven been heartbroken for a little boy that wants to know which parts of his biracial identity he got from each of his parents. And the devastation and the weight of making the wrong choices during the darkest point in my life, ultimately brought me my greatest gift. I am not perfect, but my #1 goal is to be attuned to my son and help him develop his strengths and overcome any barriers he may face. I know he hurts because he doesn’t have all the answers- I know that feeling and it’s heart-crushing and unfortunately, creates self-doubt.

And I wondered what everyone else wondered…

Would I even be a good mom? I doubted myself  and honestly, I needed an intervention, and that card was handed to me on a day that I was volunteering in Seattle, Washington. Prior to leaving for alternative spring break with 12 female students, I didn’t know the many ways my heart would begin to transform and heal.

However, Abortion was always a choice and I scheduled my appointment and was confident in my choice to end my pregnancy. I am pro-choice and you cannot tell me what I can do with my body.

And  back to Spring break,  I volunteered with an organization that supported mothers recovering from addiction. A mother walked into the playroom and handed me her child with a full bottle. I never held babies and was never a baby person. Naturally, I was resistant but I looked around the room and all of the other volunteers had tasks. I took her child in my arms and fed her. That moment changed my heart and when I returned from the service trip, I never went to my abortion appointment.

And my pregnancy at 33 became a gift that revealed to me that my purpose could begin with hope. I put my child first and took care of us differently. I started to practice self-care and re-prioritized my goals.And the miraculous wonder of having my son, is that I learned (and still learning) to love and respect myself in ways that I never loved myself before I became a mother.

And my son’s love for me, is a huge bonus. His life affirms my existence. All those times I wanted my mom to wrap her arms around me and whisper she loved me, I make sure that my son knows he is loved. We have a nexus that is celebrated everyday and I make sure to squeeze him and whisper, “I love you.”

The idea that I was dealt some cards that made me feel abandoned, unloved, and disregarded always weighed heavy on my spirit. My parents were asked if they wanted me back, and they passed. My mother actually said, don’t make me choose between my husband and you, because I will always choose my husband. I thought that was her way of telling me that she wished I had never been born.

I never wanted my son to feel the pain of not having both his parents present in his life.

And yet, this past week in a coffee-shop, during a powerful conversation, I recognized I am here for him and how good I am.

And not how bad I am.

I am a product of a heartbreak and hurt, not the best hand, but I am not defined by what cards I have been dealt, but I am held accountable for what I do with them next. I choose healing everyday. I choose love. I choose to forgive. I choose to be the change (Thanks Gandhi).

After all, I had 48% chance of graduating H.S. and despite failing “Transition to College Math,” I graduated as an honor’s student.

I was once held back in third grade, but I went on to earn my B.A and M.A degrees. Not too bad for a foster kid, right?

I am still here. Never perfect, but I am becoming a better version of myself everyday. I am coping and building hope through resilience. Not too bad for an adult with mental illness, right?

I am  NOT a statistic. I am a leader, mother, warrior, artist, writer, advocate and so much more.

I recognize that I was “dealt a hand” I didn’t want,  but it made me the woman I am today….

And when I met with my new friend, this metaphor hit me harder than I thought possible, which caused tears to cascade down my face. My hurt showed & vulnerability exposed my deepest fears. But it’s okay because I am human and challenging myself to grow. I hope I can help others figure this mess out too.

I know my son doesn’t have the best hand either, but he is going to be okay too. I am giving him my best and he will get better at life as he matures and grows too.

This is the life I want….the life where I don’t live in fear, but rather, accept the hand I have been dealt and figure out another way to bounce back from adversity. This is the hand I am fighting everyday to win for the both of us.

Closing Questions:

  1. In your own life, what will you fight for today?
  2. How will you choose to be resilient and bounce back?
  3. Will you take a deep breath and forgive (yourself and others)?
  4. Will you choose to believe your purpose is greater than your imperfections?

Closing Affirmation:

You got this. Your life matters. You will recover from trauma, foster care and/or mental illness.

None of these things make you less than someone else. Purposefully leverage the lessons you are cultivating and step into your future!

Kimberly is an experienced speaker, trainer and consultant that teaches and inspires universities, schools, organizations, foster care agencies, foster youth and families to practice resilience strategies via storytelling, creative arts and heart work. Her passion is to empower individuals and organizations to succeed!

Please contact in regard to booking your next event and/or consulting services.

Gratitude & Ending the Cycle

I’ve always wanted to write my memoir because I want to help others overcome.

I didn’t realize until very recently, that my son and I had very similar hand gestures that we made as babies. And for some reason…the very thought of us being uniquely the same, even though it’s just represented in a few photographs, makes me affirm grace at work within our lives. It began with a determined heart-I was convinced that this child was not going to be put up for adoption.

And for some reason, a few people along the way tried to convince me that adoption was best for my child. I completely respect anyone who makes this sacrifice. I also know there are so many people who want to adopt & we need their love in this world for so many children.

Honestly, there have been times, in the middle of the night, when these thoughts attack my spirit, “Am I a selfish person for keeping my child?” “Does he deserve better than me?” Many times throughout my life, God was at work in my life and I knew he loved me, even when I couldn’t love myself. I know my son deserves ME & I offer him the best version of myself every day.

After all, my mother was adopted and my mom gave me up when I was a teenager because she chose her abusive husband over me.
And guess what? For some reason, I survived, thrived, and arrived!

Those tiny fists and little waves represent determination & success.

We are mother & child. We were destined for this journey together.

We are family and on our way to breaking the cycle of abuse.
I am not angry anymore about the people who told me to choose adoption. Life’s challenges changed me and made me the mom I am today. I am not perfect. My son will probably tell you that! He knows more than anything, how much I loved him from the start. I have self-belief & aspirations for an even brighter future; this didn’t just happen overnight. The irony is that the same people who told me to give up my son for adoption…they are the same people who told me when I was in fostercare, that I could change the cycle of abuse when I was 14 years old. My anger has transformed into gratitude & only strengthened my resiliency….


Closing Questions:

  1. What are some of those negative thoughts you tell yourself and how can you change them into affirmations rather than self doubt?
  2. Where does your strength come from?
  3. What are you thankful for?
  4. What can you do today to express your gratitude?

Closing Affirmation:

Your life represents determination & success. You are destined for this journey.  You are on your way and nothing can stop you.


Kimberly is an experienced speaker, trainer and consultant that teaches and inspires universities, schools, organizations, foster care agencies, foster youth and families to practice resilience strategies via storytelling, creative arts and heart work. Her passion is to empower individuals and organizations to succeed!

Please contact in regard to booking your next event and/or consulting services.