Shauntay Mayfield

Shauntay Mayfield

I spent over half of my life in foster care from age 6 to about 20. When I was first taken away from my mom, I had never been away from her. I was always on her hips. I was labeled a troubled child. I bounced around in Lord knows how many group homes and foster homes before the age of 20. I was angry at the world. More than a decade after entering foster care as I was about to reach my milestone of aging out, I had all these questions that I hadn’t answered: Why does my mom not love me?  Why is my dad not here?  Where was the love that I needed? Where was my family?

Right before I aged-out, my foster mom Ms. Scott adopted me. I had my first daughter a year or so before, and I just wanted better for myself and my situation. She came to the foster care agency and said, ‘just, so you know, I’m going to tell you in front of them, I’m going to get with you.’ She explained that she doesn’t usually take teenagers – no one wants to take a teenager already stuck in their ways. She saw something in me worthy of being loved.  She became my adopted mom.  She has been my support system when the world turned its back on me.

Do you know what that feeling is like? Your back is against the wall, and someone turns you around, hugs you, and says, ‘Let’s go. This is the right way to go.’ She really sat down, listened, and understood me.

Ms. Scott gives me the feeling of love, like how it’s supposed to be. It’s just the unconditional bond that I’ve always been waiting for, and it feels really good. Having that one person you can always count on is just the best feeling. She is affectionate and persistent, being there physically, mentally, and emotionally.  I needed her in all of those different ways.  She is my go-to person; I could talk to her about anything. She is consistent, dependable and reliable in my life. She is my family.

What I am most proud of in my life are my kids and the family I have created for myself. I’ve been through foster care and watched mothers go through their trials and tribulations. Not every mother knows how to do everything. I’m just glad that I had a little sister to take care of and that I had Ms. Scott’s support. I know what my kids need because Ms. Scott has shown me what children need in their lives.

I’m a model mom.

I love getting my kids dressed up like they’re little doll babies, and taking pictures. That’s just me. I love that. I love looking at their features, admiring them, and playing with bubbles with them. That’s my all-time favorite: bubbles. Call me bubble mama because I love the bubbles. I also like watching movies with my kids. I like going to the park with them, watching them learn and do new things. And I love cooking for my babies.

Having people who love me in my life is something I had to build for myself.

I learned from the foster care system that my voice would never be heard if I was always roaring. While I was in the system, I had to learn how to respectfully disrespect people and still get what I needed.

I finally learned how to make people listen to me without all the anger.  Part of that was understanding that other people do love me even if I am flawed.

I just feel like if I had all those people in my life that I was missing and I had all that support before Ms. Scott, I wouldn’t be a problem. I would be the president. If I had my family, a community, the knowledge and the care and support, I wouldn’t even be sitting here. I wouldn’t. I’d be in the White House somewhere. I don’t know. In DC somewhere. But if I had all that support, I would’ve finished school, I would’ve been driving, I would’ve been talking to people like, “Excuse me, you’re from Europe? Okay. I need to do some business with you.” Yeah. That’s where I see myself at. So I don’t think God was prepared for me to be a problem and this earth. So he’s just slowing down my growth process and I’m okay with that.

When I talk about what I have been through, I think to myself that I would never take anything back.  It all made me who I am. If I had to change something it would be my future. I don’t want to repeat the same patterns as the adults in my life, like my mom did with me. I hope my children and I have the support that we need.

For those of us who have transitioned out of foster care as adults, I just want everyone to stick together.  We need to help one another.  We need to build community together and talk about who we are and where we come from.