Pain and Loss
Taylor entered foster care at the age of four. He lost his parents, normalcy, and security. What followed for Taylor were a series of failed foster homes, schools, group homes, psychiatric care, lost friends, therapy sessions, and meetings with professionals gathered to determine his progress and needs.
His social worker knew that Taylor was close to being 18 and he would age out of foster care soon. It was clear that Taylor needed to know what had happened to his family and make sense of what happened to him. He was referred to Permanent Connections for family finding and engagement. His worker, Bola, began meeting with Taylor to get to know him.
When Bola tried to talk about family and friends, Taylor found it painful. His life was fragments of losses and talking about it only deepened the pain. His life felt stagnant with questions and worry. However, Bola continued to show up, time and time again, patiently hearing him as he processed his story.
Taylor felt alone and tried to find meaning in his life. He coped by running away and threatening to hurt himself. Just when he thought things couldn’t get worse, they did. Bola had to tell him that she learned his mother recently passed away. His world came crashing down again. The despair was inconceivable. Taylor withdrew into new depths.
In his sadness, Taylor is compelled to rap. Words immediately flowed from his heart to his mouth expressing his feelings around his mom. Writing and rapping continue to be healing for Taylor. He feels empowered and strengthened by sending messages to any family out there. “I’m here. I love you…” and sharing his confusion “I don’t know which path to take.”
Family Finding and Engagement
Bola worked tirelessly looking for Taylor’s friends, family, neighbors; anyone. She left no stones unturned. “Remain curious” echoed in the back of her head. That is the Permanent Connections motto that helps Family Engagement Specialists stay the course when they are met with dead ends.
One day, Bola caught a break. In July 2018, she received a call from Brenda**. Brenda received one of Bola’s letter and asked to meet at a neutral location. They met at a local coffee shop and Bola discovered a firm connection to Taylor. Brenda is an ex-girlfriend of Taylor’s biological father. She remembers meeting Taylor when he was a baby and empathized with his situation because she was also searching for her daughter’s biological father – Taylor’s dad.
Bola updated Brenda on Taylor’s life for the past 12 years. Brenda wanted to see Taylor again and have him meet his two half-sisters. With Bola’s support, Taylor learned of his sisters. His face lit up with excitement. There was no question about it; he had instantaneous connections and wanted to meet them as soon as possible.
Engagement and Readiness Work Continues
Since July, Taylor and Brenda have been checking in daily. She was able to answer questions about his father and has been there to support him through his mother’s death. Bola is working with Brenda and her daughters to help determine what the future will look like for their relationship with Taylor. Bola is currently looking into other leads to broaden his network and continuing to meet and support Taylor.
Taylor’s story isn’t over yet. With assistance from Permanent Connections, he was able to get crucial pieces to help him move forward. As painful as it is for him to grieve his mother’s death, he knows what happened to her and finds some peace in getting answers to questions. He feels connected to family and is looking forward to finding more. Taylor’s professional team also learned how to best support him when he processes his emotions… writing and rapping.
Life is like a puzzle and we all have the right to our pieces.
**At the Y, we respect everyone who comes to us to share their story – and many are working toward a fresh start in life. So while their stories are true, names and images have been changed to protect their privacy.