This past Giving Tuesday we we were able to share the story of a child named Jordan. While Jordan herself is not a real person her story is real, as it is a compilation of many of the stories of children we have served.
Because of the generous donations of the community we were able to SURPASS our goal and raised $5226! Read Jordan's story below.
Jordan entered foster care at 13 days old, her mother addicted to fentanyl and heroine, Jordan suffered withdrawals and sat in the NICU alone, without a single visitor.
Tremors and shaking from her little body left her wailing nonstop as she entered a foster home. No relatives were willing to take her in and so began her journey in foster care, at only 13 days old.
With nothing more than the tiny onesie her NICU nurse put her in her foster family arrived at the steps of the hospital with nothing more than a car seat they borrowed from a neighbor and a deep hope to give her the solid start to life she so desperately deserved.
This foster family though was not prepared for her. With 4 children in their home already they stretched to care for her. A carseat, crib, clothes, diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, stroller, blankets. everything you can think of they needed.
But how? How would they meet her needs with 4 children and no time to run out and get things? The answer: The Hands and Feet.
2 years spent in foster care Jordan thrived, but her mother worked hard to reunite with her. She battled addiction, fought to remain sober, and was able to come out on top.
Finally Jordan was home.
When Jordan was 3 her mother met a new man at her job and quickly things took a turn for the worst. Jordan witnessed extreme domestic violence and watched as her mother was beaten severely by her boyfriend.
Police were in and out of Jordan's home for a year before finally determining she was no longer safe. Removed again at age 4 Jordan's grandmother stepped up to take her in. Never once knowing Jordan was even in foster care as a baby her heart ached for her granddaughter. While she knew it would be hard she knew her sweet Jordan could not go one more day without a family to love and care for her.
Jordan's grandmother took her in without as much as even shoes on Jordan’s feet. The needs of this sweet girl were HIGH. The trauma was vast, but Jordan’s story was only beginning.
From age 4 to age 8 Jordan's life was blissful. Her grandmother was able to provide her stability, safety, and most of all love.
On Jordan's 9th birthday her entire world changed.
Upon coming home from school Jordan found her grandmother not breathing. She called 911, waited for EMS to arrive, and ultimately witnessed the most traumatic event of her life, the death of her grandma.
On Jordan's 9th birthday she entered foster care again, this time to a foster family who was prepared for her, yet was not prepared to help a small child grieve deeply.
The needs of Jordan for comfort items, special therapy tools, and other things to help her heal were immense. Her foster family never gave up on her though. They weathered the deep bouts of grief that no small child should have to go through.
But those special items they needed became such a burden to them. Weighted blankets, sensory sensitive clothing, noise canceling headphones, tools for a calm down corner, all were items they truly needed, but who could truly help? The answer: The Hands and Feet.
After years spent in her foster home, things began to get difficult. Her mother while mostly not in her life at all resurfaced, this resurfacing brought about so much trauma Jordan was no longer safe to be in her foster home.
At age 12 Jordan was placed in residential treatment to help her overcome the deep wounds she had suffered. With doctors and nurses and therapists acting as her parents she struggled immensely. For 2 years she stayed in a highly monitored placement while she worked on healing. Finally at age 14 she was ready to discharge.
The problem? No one wanted a 14 year old who had years of struggles.
There was only one option. A group home.
While a place to live, this group home felt like anything but a safe and loving place. Her clothes were often stolen, no space was truly hers, and all she truly felt more alone and isolated than she ever had before.
For 4 years Jordan spent her life being raised by shift staff at the group home. Her mother and father were the state of Florida. Despite her social worker's advocacy to help Jordan succeed in her placement it was treacherous.
Government should never be your parent. But this was Jordan's reality.
After 4 years on Jordan's 18th birthday she was welcomed with the gift of being told to pack her bags and leave. The group home she lived in would not allow her to stay a moment after she "aged out".
Jordan was placed in Extended Foster Care, driven to a random home that she would share with 3 other aged out youth, and dropped with nothing more than her bag of clothes, a bed and a dresser.
This should not be how any 18 year old spends their birthday, yet it was Jordan’s reality. 18 years of so many losses, so much pain, and now being told as a senior in high school that this is your future:
It. Is. All. Too. Much.
It. Is. All. Too. Unfair.
While the pain of Jordan can never be solved the path to having her needs met tangibly was able to be provided. Pockets of joy were able to be given in her worst of moments. Because of this we thank you. We thank you for the incredible and generous donations of individuals who helps show these children how worthy, loved, wanted, and cared for they truly are.