"I am ten years old. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio. I attend school at Dr. Martin Luther King elementary. I often isolate myself from my peers because I spend most of my time writing in my journal. My biggest dream is to become a famous writer.
I was considered a princess because I am my mom's only daughter. My seven siblings and I were taken from my momma by the children and family services agency. I'm not sure how they got involved; all I know is that they split my brothers and me up in different foster homes. That was four years ago, and I still haven't seen or heard from any of them.
Who am I? Oh, my name is Nevaeh Jackson and this is my story".
|Product dimensions:||8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.09(d)|
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i am more than a foster child
By Ava Suggs, Marlo Suggs, Van Monroe
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2014 Ava and Marlo Suggs
All rights reserved.
I had been living with Mama Lewis for three years, but she unexpectedly died yesterday from leukemia. This morning, the same lady, Mrs. Conner, who took me from my family picked me up from Mama Lewis's house and took me to another foster home. Mrs. Conner introduced me to a lady named Debbie, and then she drove away after walking my bags inside the house. I stared out the window, watching her car drive away until I couldn't see it anymore. Then I followed Debbie as she led me to my room. I sat on the bed and just cried. I was bored, even when I had things to do, and I felt unloved, sad, angry, and unsure of everything in my life. I just wanted my mom and my brothers; I missed them so much. Debbie wiped my tears away and said, "Nevaeh, come down stairs, sweetie. I have some surprises for you." My heart ached, but it was not because Mama Lewis died. If I couldn't go back home to my mom, then I didn't want to live anymore.
When I finally went downstairs with Debbie, the living room was filled with people. I looked up to Debbie and asked her if one of those ladies was my mom. "No, Nevaeh, but this is Aunt Bettie, your sister Rose, this is Grandma Wilma, and this is Uncle Will—"
I shouted, crying out, "Why are you telling me to call her my sister? She is not my sister; that's not my aunt; and this old lady, stuck and rolling in a chair, looks nothing like my grandma! Why are you telling me to call you mom? Who are you people? Where's my family? Why are you telling me everything is gonna be okay? Did my mom die? Where are my brothers? Where did my family disappear to? I hate you people!"
As I ran upstairs to my room, I told Debbie and her family to leave me alone. In my suitcase was a picture of my favorite singer, Beyoncé. I hugged the picture tight and put it back up. I always dreamed of meeting her or even going to a concert of hers. Although I was pretty sure it would never happen, the thought of meeting her made me feel good.
Debbie followed me to my room. While I was sitting on my bed, she hugged me very tightly.
I repeatedly asked her to let me go. When she didn't, I bit her arm. "I'm sorry; I didn't mean to hurt you. It was a mistake!" I cried.
At the top of her lungs, Debbie screamed, "You're leaving my house first thing in the morning!"
I wanted to beg her to stay. Yet, if she didn't want me, what difference would it make? I probably am going home, anyway, I thought.
The next morning, I awoke to voices next to my bedroom door. I overheard Debbie say, "She's a beautiful girl; I just can't help her. She is very distant and angry. I don't think my family and I can handle her issues. I'm sorry."
"Thank you, Debbie. It was nice to meet you," I heard Mrs. Conner say. Before anyone could even come in my room, I opened the bedroom door and walked right through them, heading toward the door with my belongings.
After Mrs. Conner finished talking to Debbie, without even saying good-bye, I followed Mrs. Conner out the door. As soon as we drove off, I questioned Mrs. Conner about my family. "Mrs. Conner, I'm going home, right? Answer me. Am I going back to my home?" I demanded angrily.
"No, honey, you can't go back home. Nevaeh, please stop kicking my seat. I have a great family for you to meet, and they will take good care of you," she answered.
Mrs. Conner parked her car on the street in front of a red brick house. When Mrs. Conner and I set foot in the yard, a tall, skinny lady with wrinkly skin, dull grey hair, and ocean blue eyes walked up to us. "Hi, Nevaeh, how are you? My name is Pat." Without responding to her, I followed her through the house as she took me to my room.
"Can you tell me where the bathroom is please?" I asked Pat. While Mrs. Conner and Pat talked in the hallway, I went into the bathroom, locked myself in, and punched the wall as hard as I could.
"Nevaeh, come out of that bathroom now!" I heard Mrs. Conner insist.
"No, Mrs. Conner, I'm never coming out until you tell me that I'm going home," I shouted back.
I heard Pat tell Mrs. Conner she could leave and that she was able to handle me.
"Thank you; I'm sure she will adapt soon," Mrs. Conner stated—whatever that was supposed to mean. I did not know.
"Nevaeh, come out of this bathroom please, sweetie. It's very cold in there. I have some beautiful Hello Kitty pajamas for you, and let's get something to eat in that growling belly of yours." I began to giggle silently before crawling from under the sink and opening the bathroom door.
Pat held her arms open as I dove in to hug her. I cried loudly in her ear and drooled on her shoulders. She rubbed my back and whispered to me, "Baby, God is working behind the scenes. Your best days are ahead of you." Then she wiped away my tears, handed me my pajamas, and told me to meet her downstairs for dinner when I was changed.
After I changed my clothes, I got down on my knees, closed my eyes, and prayed. "Lord, please, if you are listening, help me find my way back to my family. I love you. Amen."
Shortly after changing into my pajamas, I went into the kitchen. As I was so very hungry, I sat at the table in front of the plate that had the most food on it. As I quickly ate my food, Pat rubbed my back. It felt so good, too; it had been a long time since I had received a hug, a kiss, or a back rub from anyone. She even offered me a second helping of food right before bed.
In the morning, I woke up to breakfast waiting for me on the right side of my bed; there were heart-shaped pancakes, bacon, cheesy eggs, and orange juice. "That was the best breakfast of my life," I told Pat.
"Nevaeh, get dressed, baby," she told me. "The summer is coming to an end. I want to take you to the zoo today."
Pat and I took hours getting ourselves ready, and she even crayoned her face up. This was followed by a long drive before we finally made it to the zoo. As we walked, hand in hand, she bought every treat I asked for. Although I hated seeing the animals in cages, most of them looked very happy and friendly.
I couldn't wait to see the lions. The lion is my favorite animal. When I am feeling scared, I hide under my bed and draw pictures of lions. They are not afraid of anything, and they will attack anything that comes near their territory.
While looking at the lions, we also spotted the gorillas. They were so ugly and huge. I stared into the window and watched the mother gorilla comfort her baby.
Pat pointed to the mother gorilla. "Nevaeh, did you know that mother gorillas are considered to be the best animal mothers?" she asked. "They also form troops and make safety for their families. It's their responsibility."
I looked up and smiled. "Thank you, Pat," I told her. "I am having a great time here with you." Without a word, she bent down and gave me a kiss on my forehead. As we left the zoo, we saw many more animals. The animal that got my rapt attention was the panda bear. This panda bear looked so lonely; no one was even looking at him besides me. He looked very sad, like how I look when I'm thinking about my family. I grabbed for Pat's hands and held them very tightly. I thought about how I was lucky to at least have Pat in my life. Sadly, the panda bear had no one at all.
On the way home, I asked Pat if she could play some Beyoncé songs. She allowed me to play "Halo" on repeat all the way home. My tummy ached so badly when we got home, and I stumbled up the stairs and changed into my nightclothes. So many thoughts were going through my mind.
Although I missed my brothers and would die to see them again, I really liked staying with Pat. Instead of eating out, she cooked every day; she hugged me often and made me feel very welcome in her home. Pat bought me everything I needed as well. She was even telling people that I was her daughter when we went out in public. I felt great acceptance from within her heart. My eyes and heart weighed heavy, so I wrote in my journal, said my prayers, and then I closed my eyes.
Over the weekend, Pat took me to her family's gathering. I had never met any of her family members before, so I felt very nervous and uncomfortable. We walked in the grass into Garfield Park. Kids ran around in circles as the smell of barbeque and corn on the cob filled the air. Pat introduced me to as many people as she could, but I didn't care to meet anyone. After I jumped roped with some of the girls and played a hand clapping game called "Down, Down, Baby," I waited for Pat while she prepared me a plate of food.
As I was eating my food, I felt someone watching me. After looking around, I noticed an older lady, with a head full of grey hair, and a smile that was missing two front teeth. She said, "Hi, honey, my name is Diane. You are quite hungry, huh?"
I rolled my eyes and stopped eating the food I had been enjoying. Pat pointed her finger to Diane and said, "Don't question my child about anything; don't worry about how fast she is eating."
The grey-haired Diane responded with a laugh.
Turning to Pat, Diane asked several questions, one right after the other. "So, how long is Nevaeh staying with you? Does she know who her mom is? Did the mom neglect her? Girl, how much is the county paying you? You a good one, 'cause these foster kids got some serious issues!"
I burst into tears. I heard Pat's family arguing and screaming at each other as I ran to the car. Pat ran after me. Grabbing ahold of me, she held me in her arms and whispered in my ear, "Nevaeh, I'm so sorry I brought you here. Don't you listen to any of those hateful things."
A few days later, as it rained all day, we stayed inside the house. We ate pizza and junk food, watched lots of movies, and painted our fingers and toes. I was still a little sad, but Pat did all she could to make each day of my life better. Everything was going great. That is, until the morning I woke up and saw Mrs. Conner in our house. "Hey, Nevaeh, how are you doing?"
With water filling up my eyes, I asked, "Mrs. Conner, why are you here?"
"Oh, I just need to talk to Pat," she answered. "Nevaeh, could you go upstairs? This will only take a few seconds, sweetie."
I walked up the stairs and sat on the first step at the top. I wanted to know why Mrs. Conner was here.
Right away, Mrs. Conner started talking. "Pat, I know you want Nevaeh, but we have gained permanent custody of her, and we need to know if you are interested in adopting her."
Excerpted from i am more than a foster child by Ava Suggs, Marlo Suggs, Van Monroe. Copyright © 2014 Ava and Marlo Suggs. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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