1. Being a former foster kid.
I carry many titles that reflect my life experiences as an Adoptee and former Foster kid. I am not sure that any of us, in my family, including myself, realized how much these two titles and life experiences would affect who I am today.
My name is Christina Bauer and I am a former foster kid who was adopted with my brother, after 4 years in the system. Our adoption was closed and we have not had contact with our mother for almost 2 decades.
Although my/our time in foster care was brief, it had vast and unique, impacts on both of us.
My brother remembers his time in foster care very differently from me. His experience was one of love, I believe due to the fact that he was more mild mannered and younger, while I experienced the opposite, mostly due to my stronger personality
My brother and I lived in the same home and had different experiences based on how we were treated by the adult in charge of us. The majority of our time in foster care was in a special respite home that was for children with special medical needs, our 3rd placement in 4 years. My time in the foster home was not positive overall and I experienced a lot of hurt that would affect my life as an adult.
At less than 4 years of age I experienced: neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and the bare minimum of my needs were met. I was too little to understand fully what was going on, but I knew that I was not loved or wanted by the adult in charge. This would go on to cause me to develop Reactive Attachment Disorder among other things. I would also develop nutritional deficiencies from lack of proper nutrition and an inability to express my emotions in a healthy way.
I was adopted with a whole string of issues or compounded trauma as my mother would call it. I had gone through the experience of saying goodbye to my biological mother for perhaps my whole life and I struggled. I have severe trust issues and I did not know how to bond or regulate my emotions in a healthy way.
I would spend my whole life after that struggling, healing, questioning and fighting to find myself. I knew God did not create me to be this broken child hurt by adults, but I could not change that. It was time for me to heal. My healing took place over the span of my lifetime and if I am being honest, I am still healing.
Healing for me was — going to therapy, talking with adults about my struggles, sorting the truth from the lies, understanding the circumstances, and perhaps the biggest step – understanding that nothing that happened to me was my fault.
I always felt responsible for my placement in foster care and I felt responsible for the way I was treated. I was the child who was deeply hurt by the adults in my life who were supposed to care for me. There was not a moment in that placement that I felt cared for.
I was viewed as an inconvenience to them and “stayed longer” than I should have. Now, I’m able to see that it was entirely unfair to hold a 4-year-old accountable for adult decisions, but that’s what happened to me.
Today as I look at my life, I see how foster care affected my relationships, friendships and my marriage. I see how I struggle to trust people and don’t deal with hurt well. I tend to push people away for “small” things they do wrong. Over the years, I’ve learned to trust people in a healthier manner and not let myself give up entirely because of the compounded neglect and abandonment.
My healing is far from over and it is a lifelong journey with harder and smoother seasons. At times, I have flashbacks to where I was neglected or abused and it overcomes me with grief as I try to console myself that those things won’t happen to me again. My trauma has crept into every aspect of my life, at other time’s I’m overcome with the feeling that I won’t be a good mother when that time comes in my life because I never experienced nurturing as a young child.
2. Being an adoptee and how that affects my marriage.
I think an important thing we are learning in our marriage is that... being born into generational trauma and a child from a ‘hard place’ doesn’t discount my husband’s struggle as a human even though he was born into a typical, healthy family.
After all, marriage is about accepting each other fully — flaws and all. It’s about coming together and loving your spouse in their struggles. Before my husband and I got married, he knew my whole life story. He is my brother’s best friend, so he watched my life play out over the years. He witnessed the mistakes I made and the dark places I was in as a struggling child and then teenager.
He wasn’t scared and he choose to love me in that. I think that’s a huge reason why I said “yes”. I figured, if he loves me and he knows what I’ve done and been through, it must be real. That was one of my greatest fears that I would never find someone to love and commit to me through marriage, because they would be scared.
Being an adoptee from foster care has certainty impacted my dating and marriage with my husband. We have been married for almost 1 year now on June 1, in that time we have experienced a lot of big changes and losses. We have been able to ride them out together in grace and patience, but a lot of that was from my husband.
I am married to an extremely patient, loving, kind and doting man. He babies me and pampers me in the most wonderful ways. I think as someone who carries a deep loss and hurt, this is exactly what I need. This is evident in small ways throughout our marriage, for example the other day I was hugging him from behind when
I said, “Babies are lucky, they get to be held all the time..”
He replied, “Yeah, that’s kind of the point of being a baby..”
I replied, “I want to be a baby, I never got to be a baby..”
He answered with.." I’ll hold you and let you be the baby..”
Of course, I was a baby once – we all were. But some of us were not treated like babies. We were not nurtured, we were not loved and we did not bond. That is something I feel deep loss in and I see how it affects my relationships and fear of being a mother.
I couldn’t have asked to be married to a more supportive man. He’s not scared by my big thoughts and losses. He has read my story on paper and he’s seen what I went through as a small child. He may not know what my losses are like, but he feels the grief. Finding someone that will step in and be who you need them to be, and do what you need them to do, is paramount in healing
Guest Blog: Christina Bauer
Instagram Handle: @c.m.db
Christina (Tina) is an adult, transracial, adoptee adopted from foster care with her brother. She is born and raised in the great state of Texas. She is newly married and graduated with her degree in teaching. When Tina isn't drinking coffee with friends, you can find her in the classroom teaching students.
Her passion is for "At-risk" students as she herself struggled to succeed despite circumstantial setbacks. Tina's goal is to share her story and encourage other's that no situation is hopeless as she shares her overcoming many obstacles.