T’Coy Adams

T’Coy Adams

I’m T’Coy and I aged-out of foster care after going back into care when I was 20. Today, I have a great support system who I know that I can rely on when need be. When it’s nice out, I enjoy just going to the park and sitting down in nature, getting in my daily dose of sun. Most of the time I go by myself, but there are times where I’ll go with a friend or a family member and we’ll just walk around and we’ll talk and talk and talk. One of my favorite things is being able to connect with a person who understands me.

I used to be very bitter. Bitter because I felt like I deserved more in life. I felt like I deserved to be safe. I deserved to be loved properly. I deserved a lot of things and the necessities, right? And as I got older, just learning to forgive, that’s actually what changed my life.

Despite the obstacles and adversity, now I feel like I’m going to be okay regardless of what external circumstances are thrown my way.  But, it shouldn’t have to be that way for young people who are transitioning out of foster care.  People shouldn’t have to live through this and get stronger.

My transition from foster care happened when I needed to leave my home environment

Because there was a level of violence and hardship that made it unsafe for me and my siblings, I just couldn’t stay there anymore and I had to leave or else the situation would have escalated.  So, I left my mother and came back into foster care when I was 20 and stayed until I was 21, basically because I needed to find a safe and stable place to live.  I didn’t know what to do.

It was Christmas day, 10 days after my 20th birthday when I needed to come back into foster care after having been returned home before when I was a teenager. I really didn’t intend to leave my home. I was trying to finish school. But God’s timing and God’s plan is not always our plan. I wound up leaving home and staying at an aunt’s house.  She was the same aunt that had taken care of me and my younger siblings when we were in foster care years before.  Her home was tight and there wasn’t a lot of room, but she welcomed me with open arms and for that I’m going to always appreciate her. I knew that I couldn’t stay there forever. I was staying in the living room.

I knew that I needed to find my own place and finish school. Going to school full-time was my main priority.

I started reaching out to my old agency from when I was in foster care. They gave me the runaround at first, so I went  directly to the source, which was ACS. I went down to 150 Williams Street. I told them about my situation. They asked me if I would like to go back into foster care to get the housing assistance that I needed. So I did it, and they helped put in my housing application to get a voucher for my own place.

Unfortunately, that is where the help ended. After I got my Section 8 voucher to use for an apartment, there was no one – I was alone from there. I didn’t have even a book or a website to look through to see who would accept the voucher. There were times where I was within four different boroughs in one day looking for an apartment. I was calling and calling and calling and visiting different management companies. I would say that I probably called about over a hundred different realtors or management companies.  I was constantly told no, or we don’t accept the voucher, or we don’t have availability.

I was constantly denied and rejected and it was starting to take a toll on me. I needed stability, I needed a place of my own. I needed privacy and I just needed that space for myself to heal from everything that I had gone through.

I didn’t know how I would pay the security deposit and the first month rent to move in. I was going to school full-time and it was hard to find work with my schedule. My aunt lent me the money for the move-in costs.  Without her, I wouldn’t have been able to use the voucher to actually live somewhere on my own.  Even with the voucher, I would have been stuck without a place to live.

Once I was in the apartment on my own, there were new fears.  I didn’t know how I was going to pay my bills. I didn’t know how I was going to pay for electricity. I didn’t know how I would even have money for basic entertainment that I wanted to do at the time. And, I was isolated. Being alone took a toll on my mental health. I thought that I would be okay once I moved into my own space. But when I did that, I felt like I started isolating more and my mental health started suffering to the point where I had suicidal ideations. I was like, what’s the point of this? If life is about suffering and it’s about always having to navigate adversity and hardship, then why do I need to be alive to keep dealing with this? I was just tired of the constant uphill battle of just surviving.

There were  times that I went without – when I didn’t have money for food and I had to find a way to improvise. I had to make ‘struggle meals’ and just eat what I could and find what I could. There were times where I cried about it – why did this life have to be so difficult to just live?

With YouthNPower, I’m part of a movement of young people who have lived in the foster care system and who are making their way in the world as young adults on their own.  One of the things I want to see change is that young people have real access to housing, with the help they need to find places to live in communities.