In case you didn't notice, there is a little something different about today's post. I'm not posting a letter like I usually do. Instead, I'm answering a few main questions that people have been asking me since I started this blog: What happened to Lauren, and why is she there? It's not everyday that a teenage girl is taken from what otherwise seems like a normally functioning home. So let me tell you a little bit about our story...
First, I want to say for anyone reading this, that this is MY version of the story, how I've seen it as a daughter and as a sister. So just because I may represent something one way doesn't mean that my parents, sisters or other family members see it the same way I do. So on with the story...
Lauren left my parents' home on January 11, 2011, just three days after my 23rd birthday. We still don't know who made the call to have them investigated, but honestly that isn't important at this point. When she was forced to leave, Lauren stayed in the care of friends and family members from that day up until the end of Summer 2011. After she left the care of family and friends, she officially entered into the foster care system in the state of Maryland, and was placed in a foster home.
Now I have received quite a few questions about why Lauren was forced to leave. On the surface, my family seems to function pretty well. My parents were actively involved with church, my dad works at the local hospital, Chrysta and I (my other younger sister) had both graduated from high school and gone on to college. I even graduated from college. We as kids, and still as adults, have never gotten into any legal trouble, and for the most part, were pretty well behaved children. That was on the outside, though.
The inside was different. My parents had their troubles, like in any other marriage. When I was 12, and then again when I was 18, my parents separated, but both times worked things out and got back together. However, as a result of both separations, the house took a beating. Things began to become messier and messier. Basically, you could say that my parents could probably be on an episode of Hoarders. And so, someone reported this, and Lauren was taken away.
And so, here I am today with this blog. As an oldest child, I've found myself lately questioning my duties and responsibilities as the oldest sister. It's really hard to be there for someone when they aren't present in your life regularly. And it's even harder when your contact with that person is limited. And so I made this blog. Lauren might not be able to read it everyday, but one day she'll be able to read it, and hopefully some of these letters will help her to get through certain things in life. I have the same hope for other girls out there that might not have someone to look up to for guidance. Maybe they can read what I've been through and gain some knowledge from it.
I have other big goals for this project, too. It would be awesome one day to create a fund/organization that helps to guide and counsel young people who may in a situation like Lauren's. And I think it would be even more awesome to be able set up some kind of network to place these young people in contact with one another, so that they know that there are other people out there going through the same things that they go through from day to day.
So there's the story. Hopefully it helped to answer some questions, and if not, feel free to comment or to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear other people's stories, to help anyone, or to answer any questions that someone may have.