Editor's Note: Window on the Clearwater has joined the Wednesday's Child network to help spread the word about children that are waiting for families to give them the loving care that they need. Each Wednesday we will profile a different child. For more information about Wednesday's Child and how you can be involved check the web site at: http://www.idahowednesdayschild.org/.
RJ is a talented teen with a great voice and some good moves to go with it. She dreams of being famous someday, of being a foster parent or adopting. In the meantime, she wants a family that does "normal" things together, like showing up at their kids' performances or sports activities.
"My name's Rogelia, but my friends call me 'RJ'. I like to listen to music, go out and do fun things, dance (especially hip-hop), and watch TV. My favorite subjects in school are drama, choir, and English. After high school, I'd like to attend college.
When people ask what I want out of life, I tell them I just want to be happy. I want a family with siblings, pets, a mom, and parents that are ok with me visiting and having a relationship with my biological family and previous guardians. I want a family that will let me just be a teenager. I understand that I need to play an active part in the family and help with the work, but I also want time to just go out with my friends. It's hard living in a group home and not having the things others have--simple things like having a cell phone.
There's no such thing as a perfect family. It's the imperfections that make that family perfect. I love the commercials about foster care with the mom or the dad messing up. But at least they're trying to show that they love you. I've been in and out of foster care since I was five years old. I had to grow up and be an adult when I was six years old and take care of my baby brother. When people say, 'You need to be a kid--don't grow up too fast,' I want to say, 'Too late!' But I want to help other kids know that they can make it and have a happy life, without drugs or having sex too early. It's like being stabbed a thousand times to be a child whose parents have picked drugs over their children.
The qualities I admire in a mother are empathy and compassion. She'd give me a hug and tell me that it's going to be OK. Qualities I'd appreciate in a dad are that he is strong and smart. I'd like siblings that I can help as a big sister. More than anything, I just want a family where I can be a kid and spend time doing "normal" things like having a parent attend school activities, having family game nights, having fun together, and having someone actually remember to wish me a happy birthday on the day I was born. I want a parent who accepts me for who I am, even though I make mistakes. He or she would encourage my dreams and who I want to be.
I'm interested in exploring the cultures that are a part of who I am. I'm Native-American, Hispanic, and African-American."
For a teenager who craves family time, RJ's current situation in congregate care is less than ideal. She wants a family that will facilitate birth family relationships, as well as adoptive ones. Currently she has contact with her two youngest siblings, her maternal grandmother, and with her two aunts. RJ feels close to the family that's been her guardians for the past six years. These relationships are very important to her, even though opportunities for visits have been sporadic. She would appreciate an adoptive parent who will encourage contact as a part of staying in touch with her own identity. Her ability to trust in enduring relationships depends upon it.
Portrait by Matt Green Photography
To find out more about Rogelia, adoption or becoming a foster parent, email the Idaho CareLine (Please include your zip code and city.) or call 1-800-926-2588. In Idaho you can dial 2-1-1. You may be asked to provide this reference number: 30538.
|Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544