Broken Child Mended Man

When revealing parts of my childhood in foster care, people typically become apologetic. However, I don't tell the story to garner sympathy. I tell it to exude a level of resiliency and one's ability to overcome any odds stacked against them evident in any human willing to seek from within. Of course, this process is not easy. First, you must endure hardships, uncertainty, and even trauma in far too many cases. Next, you have to survive the ordeal, which could mean years of torment. If you survive it all, you're likely a troubled adult seeking a more hopeful path toward mending. 

78a38d90a5f5af5857b8e93fa4dd5a84 LMy early childhood years were often highlighted by neglect. I scrounged for food, lived in a home exposed to the elements, and proper hygiene wasn't even in my vocabulary. Born to an alcoholic mother who was later diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, I managed to make sure my brothers and I survived until the state took us away when I was eight years old (1988). This defining moment set off what I can only diagnose as a psychological trauma that made me act out throughout most of my grade school career. 

I managed to overcome my troubles in time to finish high school; however, my actions and circumstances manifested in ways that led to both, a life of trial by error and achievement. I didn't have the luxury of taking the easier road, but I set out to achieve certain goals. In turn, that allowed me to cope with the present moment. I always thought, "If I can just get through this, my reward is just over the horizon." I also learned to embrace the community surrounding me. This was the most difficult aspect of mending because it meant trusting people again after being betrayed so many times beforehand. Nevertheless, I couldn't complete my transformation without a support system.

While acknowledging my shortcomings and triumphs in Broken Child Mended Man, I'm confident that the vast majority of us who have experienced some form of childhood trauma have the capacity to go from broken to mended if we keep this in mind. Pain is inevitable, but so is joy. Too many of us resort to abject fear or anger due to our sufferings or unknowns in life. Remain steadfast by approaching discovery and love so you can embrace the present moment. The past can serve as nothing more than a lesson and the future can serve nothing more than a notion.

Adam Starks

Adam Starks, Ph.D. is a former foster youth who defied the typical outcome. Against the odds, he has been married for over 12 years to his wonderful wife, Emily. Together, they have three children, Jayden, Isaiah and Susannah. Currently, Dr. Adam Starks is an aspiring social entrepreneur envisioning a better today for our society's most vulnerable children.

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