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!
What’s your dream and what are you willing to do, to make it happen?
You got this!
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. (Lao Tzu)
Kimberly C. Rhyan is a former foster youth and speaker/trainer/consultant who inspires/empowers foster parents, caseworkers, supporters, educators, and foster care youth/alumni to step into their future better prepared to facilitate/achieve foster youth’s successes. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org in regard to booking your next event and/or consulting services.