Getting what’s on the inside …out.

To tell the truth, me and my siblings were in foster care for a year and a few months. Our foster-mother was very hard on us, and she cared for no one but herself. We wasn’t eating right, and we had no freedom at all. She was spending our check on herself, making sure she had everything she wanted. Do you want to know how we ended up in foster care? Keep reading. I’m going to tell you how it all started.

We were staying with our grandma because my mother was always locked up, or in some type of trouble. My grandma had us in school, and she was taking good care of us. That is, until my mom got out of jail. She came to my grandma’s house and took us away. All of us except my big sister. My big sister didn’t like our mother, she was like our grandma’s child. When she took us away from my grandmother, we were living in different hotels everyday. We didn’t go to school for months , and we was struggling bad.

One day, my mother left us in the hotel by ourselves. She went to our church, and tried to burn it down because she knew my grandma was in there. The police arrested her before she did. My mother called my big cousin, and sent her to watch us at the hotel. My cousin didn’t have no money and no food. She had nothing. She didn’t know how to raise us. She just had my mother’s car, and we slept in the car for a few nights. One day, my cousin went by my daddy’s house and asked him for some money for us. He gave her some money, and she bought us a little food and another hotel. She started taking us back to school. My big sister would tell my grandma everyday that she seen us at school, so my grandma and aunt would drive up there to try to get us after school everyday. My cousin started to realize that and we’d missed school for 3 months.

My cousin couldn’t take it no more and finally took us to our grandma’s house. My grandma was happy to see us, but she was very disappointed in my cousin and my mother. My grandma got us back in school. Everybody at school was asking where we had been at. Caseworkers would come up to the school to ask me and my twin brother Ricardo “Rico” questions. We were smart, and knew what DHS was all about. They’s ask us questions about my mama like, “Did she smoke around you?” Even though she did do a lot, we told them that she wasn’t doing anything. When they got to questioning my big sister, she told them everything because she didn’t like our mother. She didn’t know any better. At the time, she was 8 and we were 6 or 7-years-old.

In The System

The next day while at school, we got checked out early by women I’d never seen before. I was looking at the ID’s around their necks and it said ‘DHS’. I knew we were getting taken away. The women took us to a shelter where all foster kids stay until they find them somewhere to live. We stayed there for 3 months. Then, we stayed with this women for a whole year. It was just me, my big sister and Rico. My little sister and brother were separated from us, but we got to see them every Tuesday at visitation. Foster care was like hell to us. I just answered your question from the beginning, now keep reading if you want to know what went down while we were in the system.

We disliked our foster-mother. She made us wear the same clothes everyday, eat a hot dog once a day, and we never left the house besides to go to school. Our case worker asked us was she doing us right, but we were so scared to snitch on her cause she was so mean. My mother was just getting out when we went into foster car. When it came to visitation my mother, grandma and aunt always showed up -even though they disliked my mother. They always brought us game systems, put a little money in our pocket and brought us snacks. Our foster-mother would always take our game systems. We had no TV, and we couldn’t eat candy. It was just hell. Come to find out, my mother gave up her rights to us so it was getting hard. My uncle had to buy a big house for all of us and he did. My uncle adopted all 5 of us. We was all so happy. But when we got home, our case worker specifically told us we couldn’t be around our mother and we understood.

My mother was still on drugs and she ended up coming around when we came home. Still to this day, she don’t want nobody in our family having her kids. So she would threaten everyone. When we got out, we all disliked our mother for putting us through that. My mother is locked up right now, but even without her it’s still hell going on.

Generational Curse

My big sister is now following in our mother’s footsteps. My sister just got out of juvenile last week. My sister started off running away in the middle of the night to be laid up with different dudes. She’d be gone for weeks. The police could never find her. She comes back when she feels like it. My grandma don’t want to go through the same stuff she went through with my mother, so she just let her do what she want. Instead, she focuses on us.

Last month my sister and some guys broke into my room. They had been spying on me through my window. See, I had a curtain to cover up my window, but you could see through the sides of it if it’s not covered up good. Anyways, they was spying on me through the window, waiting until I left the room. I left my room for a good minute around 2:00 AM, when my door ended up locked. It was very weird to me, because I didn’t lock my door. I woke my grandma up, and when she unlocked the door my room was torn up. I know it was my sister because she knew the code to the case over my game system. I know some dudes helped her raise the window up, because it was very heavy.

My sister dropped out of school around that time, and she was wanted. The police finally picked her up a few weeks ago while she was walking. She did a lot this year. She hit my grandma and got charged. Last week during court, my grandma dropped all her charges and let her come home. I feel like my grandma is being too nice, because this girl done stole her credit cards and all. My sister claims that she is pregnant, but is telling everybody that she had an abortion. She just got out and she’s still doing lot of lying. I dislike her a lot and I don’t trust her at all, but like they say everyone deserves a second chance.

I feel like this writing program has given me a chance in life. One day, I will be a mother. My children will NEVER go through the hell that I’ve been through. The generational curse in my family ends with me.

My Impact To Help Fund our Programs

“Raniya (pictured kneeling in the center to the left), and her teammates posed for photos with ‘Fashionably Yours’ while promoting our books at the Ladies Room Holiday Sales Event.”

My name is Raniya, and I’m a student at McClellan Magnet High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. When I joined Writing for the Soul Workshop™, I simply wanted to share my story to encourage kids that may be going through what I’ve been through. But when I was selected for the Writing for the Soul Workshop™ Internship Program, I realized that I could do so much more to help them.

As an intern here at Writing for the Soul Workshop™, I’m learning skills in sales that will give me an edge in the career that I choose later in life. But the best part of my job is giving away copies of books published by our writing program. Every donation I secure, or sale I make means that one of my peers will get life-saving books for free.

Writing for the Soul Workshop™ is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non‐profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Writing for the Soul Workshop™ are tax‐deductible to the extent permitted by law. You can support our work by clicking on the “Donate Today” button to make a one-time contribution.

If you would like to partner with me to donate one or more copies of our books to students in my community, use the Contact Form below to connect with me. Together, we just might save a life.

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