If you had asked me at the age of 7 what my meaning of home was, I probably would’ve answered with “I don’t know.” When I turned 7, I was taken from my father and placed into a foster home. I remember my social worker telling me that I was going to a sleepover for a few days. Even though I didn’t know this lady, I believed her.
As the strange lady walked me out the front door, I saw tears in my father’s eyes. He told me to be brave and to always remember that he loved me and that no matter what happened I would always be his little girl. I didn’t know why he was crying, but I didn’t like seeing him like that. He kept begging the lady not to take me away, but she didn’t listen to him. I remember sitting in the backseat of the lady’s car, next to my brother Dragan.
I remember the two-hour car drive to the stranger’s house where the sleepover was taking place. I remember the smiles on the parents’ faces as they showed us our rooms.
I remember the paralyzing fear I felt when I realized I was never going home to my father again. I would never have a normal childhood.
[For more of this story, written by Rose M., go to http://jjie.org/2017/07/17/berkeley-bound/]