by Malinda Hamm
Helen Ramaglia, Jesse DeLuna, Leroy Berrones-Soto, Jr., Rev. Marie Smith, “Marija Sophia”, “Missy Jay”, “Nikki J”, Phyllis Amalfitano Kessler Guilmette Thompson, “Sheniqua”, ShirleyAlexis JohnsonBradley, and Tenisha Edwards.
This Is Mine: My Story, My Life shares life stories of those who have experienced foster care. Each contributor has their own unique way of telling their story. Philly shares through imagery, using Pandora’s Box as a metaphor for her complicated relationship with her biological family. ShirleyAlexis pours out her story, the painful horrifying truth of it, in a torrent of words that capture you and hold you breathless… Leroy talks about himself in the third person…as if looking down on his life from another place. Helen finds her voice again, after years of silent trauma, living in fear of the “Unknown” Monster.
The chapters “in between” their stories are places where they share what family means to them, give advice to foster parents, and share their childhood dreams (if they had any). They ask questions of the judicial system, talk about aging out and adoption, pay tribute to their heroes, and talk about what they attribute their resiliency from. 90% of the proceeds of this book will provide extra special support for children who are currently placed in foster care.
Thank you so very much for your support!
Malinda, The 90/Ten Project
Excerpts from “This Is Mine: My Story, My Life”:
Chapter 1: Philly’s Story
“When I was taken from my mother, I was found broken, burnt, nonverbal and locked in a basement, with a boy just a few years older than me. For years as a young child, the identity of this young boy plagued my dreams and instilled a child-like fantasy of a lost brother and sister running down the street into each other’s arms.”
Chapter 3: Sheniqua’s Story
“My struggles were yet to begin as foster care slowly molded me into someone I wasn’t. I used to be a sweet girl, with hopeful promise.”
Chapter 4: Jesse’s Story
“I was about 9 or 10 years old..I got detained from school, along with my brothers and sisters, and placed directly into a home full of strangers I have never seen in my life. I felt as if my heart was pulled right out of my chest.”
Chapter 6: ShirleyAlexis Story
“In the hall closet where I had been forced to spend most of my 6 years, was the opening to the laundry chute. I knew that the next floor down below the laundry chute was the cold, hard, cement floor of the basement laundry room. Just around the corner from that was the sliding glass door leading out around the back side of the house. This is what I viewed… and dreamed… as being my way to freedom.”
Chapter 9: Leroy’s Story
“In 2005 (ten years old), Leroy was separated from his family for the first time. He was placed in a foster home in McAllen. He was promised he was only going to be there for two weeks. “I felt depressed, I refused to eat, and I felt very uncomfortable. That is the worst thing anyone can do to a family,” he stated. Two weeks later he was sent to a foster home with some of his siblings. He stayed there for two and half years and then discharged from State foster care.”
Chapter 11: Nikki J’s Story
“Trying to learn to become a child again was nearly impossible. Many foster parents were unable to deal with me because I was too “grown” for a six year old.”
Chapter 12: Tenisha’s Story
“It was a cold winter day, I was taken from our project apartment and put into a police car. I was cold, afraid… and I didn’t know where the officers were taking me. That was the day my foster care journey started. In my nine year old mind, I wondered if life would be better than living with my mom.”
Chapter 14: Helen’s Story
“The acts were sinister, and we often feared for our lives. Having a loaded shotgun in our faces, knives pitched at us, beaten with vacuum cords until our skin disappeared and slapped unconscious was merely everyday life in our home.”
Chapter 16: Marija Sophia’s Story
“This was my first ‘real’ home. I had safety, support and love. I would experience my first real Christmas, birthday party and how to be a child again. I had found a person who I deemed worthy enough to call ‘Mum’ and I told her so.”
Chapter 18: Missy Jay’s Story
“As a kid I was asked by a teacher, “if you could be a superhero, what power would you choose?” I remember thinking I would choose invisibility, then I could hide, and no one would ever find me.”