LGBTQ Youth in CareReflections from a Father and Son
I Have a Light, Somewhere in Me
by Justin Maxwell
Before you give me something to live for I need you to freeze, read the caution tape that I have tried to hang myself with since last January. Study the crime scene that sent me into foster care. My heart has been broken into, bashed and now abandoned. It has a no trespassing sign on it. I have irrevocable trust issues. Knock on the door of my reflection if you want the real me.
I’m warning you, I’m a downpour on a sunny day. I wear the same rugged frown and my head hangs. What’s to look up to? Is there a God beyond the sunset? I’m weak. Settle in your bone structure in a non-threatening position, and then I’ll feel the comfort to spill the ink of me onto the paper.
Look at my face… fifty different shades of emotions within one day. The world is foreign to me. I know nothing outside of trailer trash. So, excuse the mess I always leave behind. Look into my eyes, not too deep. A child’s ghost lives in my irises. My levee tear ducts break when the truth hurricanes from the gulf of my mouth. I have vandalized my skin. My scars are notes on the surface of my pain.
I may never give you grandchildren; my body is only interested in guys. My closet door was never really shut. I never had to unlock my lips to say, “I’m gay.” Please don’t judge me. I’m human. I have a light, somewhere in me. I just need help finding it. I’m unique. There’s no one in this galaxy handmade and woven like me.
Are you going to pass the caution tape and save me from the crime scene I relive every day? Are you scared? I am too.
What LGBTQ Children in Foster Care Need
by Mark Maxwell
Tim and I read the file and we made the decision to remove Justin’s “caution tape.” When we met him, we saw a beautiful child who needed permanency. Time was running out to help him heal. Justin was and is more than a statistic.
Some may have only seen a skinny gay boy. My family saw a child who is a gifted writer and student. He is funny and extremely charming. He’s also one of the children who willingly said, “I cannot live with my mother another day.”
As a parent, I know for sure LGBTQ children in foster care need the same things all children need. They need loving individuals willing to see them through nonjudgmental, unscaled eyes. They need individuals who are willing to learn that sexual orientation or gender identity do not define a whole person. LGBTQ children are parentable and like all children, deserve individuals who see them as whole and are willing to work to help them heal from past trauma.
With your help LGBTQ kids can soar like eagles with unbroken wings.