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This is Caylin

My daughter spoke at the WV State Capitol for a #notus campaign in WV.

My daughter then spoke at The Center of Hope for a youth revival. These are her words.... This is the beginning of the story of Caylin. But don't be fooled, she is NOT DONE!

Hi, My name is Caylin, and I'm here to tell my story. My baby brother and I were born into a family that was being ravaged by addiction. Right from the moment my brother and I were brought into this world, we were both immediately affected by our birth parents’ choice to abuse drugs. We were both born with condition and/or disorders caused by our mother using drugs when she was pregnant with us. I myself didn't get it nearly as bad as my little brother, I was only born with mild ADHD, but my brother was affected far worse. He too got ADHD but much more severe, he also got ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), conduct disorder, and RAD (reactive attachment disorder) I'm going to further explain this one in a moment, but I'm pretty sure that, that's not all of them, those are just the ones from the top of my head. But, from the MOMENT I was born, the effect of my parents abusing drugs was very prominent in my life.

The neglect we experienced only got worse and worse. It got to the point to where me and my baby brother were locked in a room, and left. I don't know or remember how long we were locked in there for, but it was long enough to where it forced 3-year-old me to take care of and keep alive my 1 year old brother. Do you know how I kept us alive in there? To keep us from starving I would rip the wallpaper off of the wall and eat it, then I would feed it to my baby brother in an attempt to keep us alive, I would rip the mattress open and eat the stuffing and feed it to my brother, so we wouldn't starve to death while we were locked in that room. Thankfully, I have very few memories during that dark period of my life, but one memory I have is of looking around that room. I remember looking at the window, which was boarded up, and the little spaces in between the boards that you can peak out of were completely covered in bugs.

When CPS had found and rescued me and my brother from that room in that cabin in the woods, we had been locked in the room for so long that we were both extremely malnourished. So, CPS took us away and we were placed into the "system", compared to most children, I wasn't in the system for that long. Just a little over two years, but in those two years I was placed into a family and taken away again, this happened twice before we found our "forever family", in my case this doesn't sound too bad, but let me give a little more detail on the situation. Both of the homes I stayed at before I was adopted I stayed at for about a year. And when I was that little, there was nothing more in the world that I wanted than for a forever family, for a mommy that I could run to when I had a problem, for someone to just love and take care of us forever, for someone that I wouldn't ever have to worry about leaving or abandoning me again. So it didn't take much time or convincing for little me to think that, that was going to be my new mommy, my forever family. Then I would get ripped away from that family and placed into a different home. And you know how when you're little every emotion, everything is exaggerated? like one small cut is the end of the world. That's how it was for me, all I felt when I would get taken away was the pain, betrayal, and rejection of my foster parents. It crushed me, I would think that it was somehow my fault. That I was the reason I got taken away, "is there something wrong with me? why don't they want me? Did I do something to make them not love me anymore?" these were the thoughts that were swarming in my mind when I would get taken away.

Earlier I mentioned that my little brother has a condition called RAD (reactive attachment disorder). The condition is pretty rare, but most children who have this disorder are or have been in the foster care system at some point in their lives. Reactive attachment disorder is when a child did not receive proper love as a child or did not make healthy attachments to their parents, so they don't know how to love because they were never loved when they were young. And I'm going to borrow a line from my other speech, but even though they are out of the room in the cabin in the woods with no love, the room with no love isn't out of them.

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Impressing Minds is about creating value in the mind of a child through the foster parents. Imagine the mind of a child being made of play-doh, and you are about to make a permanent impression. What type of impression will you make? I will encourage you to make a soft, lasting, affirmative impression in their mind by giving tools to get started fostering, accomplishing a great foster care home, and serving the children in your care. I offer support to you and others fostering. An important element of Impressing Minds is the support that others have given to those in need.


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