Mindset: Make the Best of ItWhat I’ve learned from transitions: Reflections from foster care alumni
by Megan Holmes •
“Time is filled with swift transitions” — Jennie B. Wilson
We quickly learn the truth in this statement as we grow, learn, and develop throughout life. I can personally attest to this phrase being true because I’ve experienced many transitions in my two-and-a-half decades. I’ve transitioned from multiple homes from a young age prior to foster care, and have had to adapt to the challenges and changes life brought me.
When I was 15, I made one of the biggest transitions in my life: entering the substitute care system. During my 5-year experience, I’ve learned that when transitioning, it is important to have a healthy mindset about what is to come, to establish positive supports, and to find and maintain an interest that you enjoy as an outlet. These have been the most helpful to me, especially while in care.
When I first entered care, the transition was not as challenging because I entered the situation with a made-up mind that I would make the best of whatever happens. I can’t say I’ve always done that, but I gave it my best effort. I believe there is so much power in a made-up mind, whether it’s to excel or to give up, and we can help influence the outcome of our situation. I learned this while in care and it is something I carry with me in adulthood. If you’ve won the battle in your mind, you’ve fought the greatest part of the battle.
In addition to having a made-up mind about how to approach and overcome the transitions of life, I’ve learned that having the appropriate support aides your success in insurmountable ways. I was baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost my junior year in high school, and developed a strong support circle with individuals from my local church. They, along with my foster parents and social workers, helped me with things such as getting around town if my foster mom wasn’t available, listened when I wanted or needed to talk, and even helped me move in to college.
If that support wasn’t there for me while transitioning from placement to placement, high school to college, or from college to adulthood, I would have encountered those changes with much more difficulty. I also had a great support in my social workers and foster parents. Through this, I’ve learned you will always need people as you navigate new areas of life, and it is OK to be selective of those you invite into your life. When a young person is choosing or acknowledging an individual as a support, I encourage foster/adoptive parents, social workers, and others in that youth’s life to be inclusive of that person.
One final lesson I’ve learned while navigating transitions while in care was to find something I enjoyed doing to help alleviate any stress or feelings of being overwhelmed. I enjoy singing, writing, and praying, so these are all things I’ve done when I was preparing to age out of care at the age of 21, working two part-time jobs, and had 18 credit hours during my second-to-last semester. When I did the things listed above to release stress, I was strengthened and able to think more logically about what steps needed to be taken to continue to move forward.
By learning the importance of a made-up mind, a support system, and outlets to relieve stress, I’ve been able to navigate the challenges I faced while in care, and am able to better navigate the transitions into adulthood.