The Bold and The Beautiful Transcript Wednesday 12/14/11
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Stephanie: Today, we are in a suburb of Los Angeles, visiting with alumni of a very special program that provides housing and assistance for young people who have aged out of our foster care system. The people being interviewed are not actors. Here are their stories.
Ricardo: I lived there for, um, 18 months. I graduated the program. I was basically homeless when they took me in. They offered me a job. Now I'm working as a maintenance worker for them. So I pretty much learned how to do everything from install drywall to installing an outlet, um, working with a snake for plumbing. So just basically stuff, skills I'm gonna take o-on with me--
Stephanie: With you.
Stephanie: I hear you're a wonderful artist.
Ricardo: Art's pretty much kept me out of trouble, art and music. Uh, I could sit at home, uh, Sunday and just hang around with my daughter, listen to music, eat some pizza, and--and paint all day. It's the perfect life for me. I wouldn't want to be doing nothing else.
Hope: (Breathlessly) Wait, Dayzee. Wait. Explain it to me.
Dayzee: All right. When a foster child turns 18, they're legally on their own. So wherever they're going, they have to hope that they can stay there. And they've got to hang on to whatever it is and wherever it is, because oftentimes, there's nowhere they can go back to.
Stephanie: You got to live here.
Woman: I did, indeed.
Stephanie: What was that like?
Woman: Amazing. I got to find me, um...
Laquieta: And who Laquieta was outside of that stereotype or that title of "Foster care."
Stephanie: And you-- when you were living here, you were here with your little boy.
Laquieta: Basically, I aged out of a group home.
Laquieta: And, um, in that placement, you're no allowed to have your children.
Stephanie: Oh, my gosh.
Laquieta: And so my son went, in turn, with his grandma, who later came to me and said, "You know, I-I can't do that." And so at that time, I had the option of either the system would forcibly take him or I could voluntarily place him in foster care.
Stephanie: Where were you during that year?
Laquieta: I remained in the homeless shelter.
Stephanie: And did your boy-- was he with your grandmother at that time?
Laquieta: No, he wasn't be--
Stephanie: So where was he?
Laquieta: He was in a foster home.
Stephanie: Oh, my God, just the thing that you wouldn't want him to be in. That must have been very upsetting.
Laquieta: (Voice breaks) It was.
Stephanie: Where did you get the strength to hang on? You're so young.
Laquieta: (Cries) Because I knew I was better than this. I knew that it was my job to be a mom first to my son, and then be a person for me. That's what did it for me. I just knew that there-- there's greater things. It was more important to smile every day than to cry every day. So I made the decision that either I'm gonna lose it here or lose it along the way and then pick myself up. (Cries)
Stephanie: Um, you've gone through all of this, and...
Stephanie: You have this extraordinary desire to do something positive with your life...
Stephanie: For yourself and for your child.
Laquieta: (Cries) Yeah.
Stephanie: That's-- that's just--you're--you should be very proud of that.
Laquieta: (Sniffles) I am.
Stephanie: (Pats Laquieta's arm) Congratulations.
Laquieta: Thank you.
Stephanie: You're in architecture.
Man: Yeah, that was, uh, my major in college.
Stephanie: How did you start out or-- I-in the foster care system? What happened in your life?
Man: My birth mother dropped me off at my aunt's house, I believe, when I was about 6 months. Said she was going to, you know, go purchase a baby bed for me or--or something of that nature, um, and never came back. My aunt felt that I was too much of a challenge to deal with, um, so after six months, she put me, uh, up into the foster care system.
Stephanie: Oh, wow.
Man: And so by the time I was 2 years old, I had arrived at my f-- uh, my fourth, uh, caretaker, but I stayed with her, uh, from 2 years old all the way to 17. Uh, my foster mother was a woman who genuinely believed that we could make something of our lives. You know, she did as much as she could to expose me to the world, you know, the other options that I had available to me, you know, so that internally, I could make a decision.
Stephanie: If you could have any wish, if you could have a dream-- which I-I know you have a dream-- but you could wave a magic wand, let's say, and just say, "Boom, here it is," what--what--what would you like to see?
Man: My greatest dream would have been for my foster mother to be able to live longer to see what I'm gonna do with the rest of my life. Um, I had to bury my foster mother, my mother, um, last year. I wish she could have seen the fruits of her labor in a greater capacity. I-I bought my first home, a condo, at 23. She was there. You know, so she could have the sense of pride that I have. That--that is what I wish, you know? And, uh, I-I love her for that, you know?
Stephanie: You're Coty?
Stephanie: I'm Stephanie.
Coty: Hello, Stephanie.
Stephanie: Nice to meet you.
Coty: It's wonderful to meet you.
Stephanie: Thank you. Where are you from?
Coty: Well, I was raised over in the south bay area-- surfer boy at heart. (Chuckles)
Stephanie: Oh, really?
Stephanie: Are you a surfer surfer?
Stephanie: How'd you get into surfing?
Coty: It was my stepdad actually. He was a beach bum.
Stephanie: Did you get along with him?
Coty: Not really. The only time I really saw him was when he needed to, like, dish out punishment.
Coty: One of the reasons why I had to leave.
Stephanie: How old were you when you left?
Coty: I was 15.
Stephanie: How did you get into the foster care system?
Coty: Just one night, I couldn't take it. I mean, I knew everything that was going on. They were using me, uh, neglecting me. I mean, the abuse went from physical to verbal, and the physical went to extremes I mean, I've woken up to being beaten before, and that caused me to, like, become an insomniac.
Stephanie: Do you still suffer from insomnia?
Coty: (Inhales sharply) Uh, here and there.
Stephanie: Were you with your--your family until 15, and then you went into the foster care system?
Coty: I ran out. I knew what they were doing, and I went to the rest of my family and told 'em. And they called child services, and I was removed from them and placed with my-- the rest of my family.
Stephanie: Okay, if you could have whatever you would like in life, a dream to come true, what would it be?
Coty: To not be alone during the holidays. (Sighs) Holidays are some of the hardest times for me.
Coty: All my friend and roommates say, "Oh, come with me. Spend time with my family." (Sighs) The hard part is that I don't have family. I don't have the family to invite her people, to say, hey, come with me."
Stephanie: Even though they really want you to come?
Coty: Yeah. (Sighs)
Stephanie: You surprised sometimes that you turned out to be as strong as you are?
Coty: No. Through all the hardships I've known, I've just grown stronger and stronger and stronger. It surprises a lot of people, and I just tell them that anything's possible. And if they're--they're like "That's--that can't happen," I'm like, "Okay, then its magic."
Man: My story starts at 4 years old, and that day is where I distinctly remember that I was taken away from my home and placed into another one. Now at that age, you can adapt, you know? Children adapt. "I miss my old home, but okay, here I am now. Let's just get down to it," you know? I started calling this person "Mom" and this person "Dad," and these are my brothers and these are my sisters, to go to a new school. These are my teachers, okay? But then when you come home again, your stuff is packed up and you're moving again. When I was 14, I went to Pomona D.C.F.S., you know, to check out my file, and there, I came across the statistics, uh, for foster youth that have been through, you know, multiple homes and as I thought about that and as I was reading that, I just-m I knew I couldn't do that. I couldn't become a statistic.
Stephanie: Was there anybody when you were in high school-- because you were floating around in different homes, was there any teach that inspired you?
Man: My coach. Now he's very competitive, and you know, he--he wanted me to push myself. Uh, track was, you know, kinda like my savior that's has let all my energy out and things like that.
Man: And we're in this big race, and I was the, you know, anchor leg against one of the top runners in the nation at that time. And I had lost, and I threw a fit. I threw the baton down, and you know, it was very unsportsmanlike. And, you know, he came up to me, and he was very disappointed in me. And there was a meet that we were looking forward to after this meet that we spent our whole season gearing up to. We were defending our champ-- our league championship, and you know, I-I wanted it bad, you know? That was the race that I wanted to be in. And he told me I couldn't run in that race...
Man: Because of the way I acted like, and you know, and it just showed me that, you know, every action has a consequence. And you know, he told me why, and I was mad at him for I don't know how long. Yeah, I didn't look at him. I didn't--I didn't talk to him, and--but I understood what he was trying to do.
Stephanie: Well, you were lucky to have him, but you were smart enough when you heard the right advice not to throw it away...
Man: Oh, yeah.
Stephanie: And to make it something positive.
Man: Luckily for me, that situation was on the track, and you know, as opposed to, you know, with a gun or you know, in some kind of gang. You know, he--he gave me the right advice, and--and with that, I think I would have been, you know, okay.
Stephanie: Did he let you run in the race?
Man: He did. (Laughs)
Man: He did, he did.
Stephanie: Thank you so much, D.
Demontray: You're very welcome.
Stephanie: That's great.
Woman: And through all of that, I just realized that if I was positive about things, if my mentality was good, then nothing but good things can happen to me.
Woman: I was 5, so to be suddenly take-- taken away from your mother and placed into someone's care, even though that person is said to be a relative it was very difficult for me.
Man: Just over the years, I had always been an advocate, you know, stood up for those less advantaged, and, um, it was just a passion of mine. And of course, my experience, you know, knowing that there is so much need, I felt like I wanted to be a part of changing that, 'cause--
Stephanie: And what else did you learn here?
Man: (Sighs) Oh, a lot. (Laughs) I mean once my family wasn't very supportive of me, and you know, I definitely, uh, struggle with our relationship, I, um, had-- I didn't trust others. I had issues with trusting others, and so-
Stephanie: Would you say that was a result, of, uh, your relationship, or lack of relationship with your mother and with your dad?
Man: Mm-hmm, definitely mother, yeah.
Stephanie: Is your mother still alive?
Man: Ah, my mother is still alive.
Stephanie: What about your dad?
Man: And my dad is.
Stephanie: Do you ever speak to them or communicate with them?
Man: Yeah, my dad, I actually have a good relationship with, um, talk to him at least once a week. Um, and he's, you know, apologized for the situation, um, and you know has been active in my life since I was a freshman in high school, so it's been many years.
Man: Um, with my mother, we're still working on our relationship, um, and we're working on it, you know?
Stephanie: Have you forgiven her?
Man: I have.
Stephanie: Is that hard?
Man: Not--not long ago, though. (Chuckles) Yeah.
Stephanie: Yeah, I know. That's part of growing up, though, isn't it?
Man: Mm-hmm. And I also think that, um, she kinda did the best with what she had. And I-I realize that, as well. Um, I'm just trying to support her and her growth as well as mine, so...
Stephanie: When you were in high school, was there any one professor or teacher-- or when you were in college-- that kind of inspired you?
Man: I think my fourth grade teacher. Yeah, 'cause that was right after I entered care, and so it was a struggle. My... (Scoffs) My behavior was all over the place. (Laughs)
Man: I mean, 'cause although my mom wasn't appropriate, you know, to parent, uh, me and my sister, uh, I still missed her and longed for her, so I acted out in school. And my fourth grade teacher just talked to me and you know, told me it's not my fault, whatever the situation is, and just to basically be responsible for my actions and for myself that day forward. And so I kind of held on to that.
Stephanie: Do you remember her name?
Man: Yes, Miss Ford. I actually sent her a letter... two years ago?
Man: Yeah, to thank her and to l--to let her know...
Stephanie: Let her know.
Man: I was in grad school at the time, um, and you know, just let her know that I held on to those words and that I haven't forgotten them.
Man: My major is in criminal justice and law.
Man: And just helping... children.
Man: So I want to be a child advocacy lawyer.
Man: So law school could help me with that. (Chuckles)
Stephanie: It certainly could. Do you ever see your parents?
Man: My parents? Never.
Stephanie: Are they both alive?
Man: Uh, my mom I learned, deceased about three-- four years ago now, and my dad is in and out of prison.
Stephanie: Were you together at any time with one of your siblings?
Man: Um, well, me personally, I was with one of my siblings, the second-oldest, for about-- about seven years, and then the other four lived together their whole lives since they were babies.
Stephanie: You were with your older brother a while.
Man: Older brother, with one.
Stephanie: And then were you split?
Man: I was there for a year, and then they just kept moving me until I finally moved in with some of my friends, and his parents took care of me.
Stephanie: How do you think having gone through all of this...?
Stephanie: And you are now here at this moment in your life what held you together?
Man: I could honestly say that, um, when I finally emancipated, I met up with, um, an organization, and they really helped push me and guide me to going to college and really becoming what I really am today. Just--
Stephanie: Where did you get this extermination?
Man: I guess I didn't want to be what my parents were, so I wanted to make something of myself, and my kids, I didn't want them to grow up the same way I did. Hey, where's Harriet?
("True Colors" playing)
Cyndi Lauper: You with the sad eyes don't be discouraged though I realize it's hard to take outrage in a world full of people you can lose sight of it all in the darkness there inside you makes you feel so small.
Stephanie: (Thinking) Was there anyone that kind of inspired you?
Man: My fourth grade teacher, Miss Ford.
Ricardo: My last social worker.
Woman: My grandmother. She was a great example.
Dean: My high school track coach.
Man: My A.P., uh, Literature teacher. She supported me with whatever I chose to do.
Woman: I remember what Carla told me. She'd always say, "You’re a great mommy."
(Cyndi Lauper sings "True Colors")
But I see your true colors shining through I see your true colors that's why I love you so don't be afraid to let them show your true colors true colors are beautiful like a rainbow.
(Cheers and applause)
Ooh, ooh, ooh. I can't remember when I last saw you laughing. If this world makes you crazy and you've taken all you can bear you call me up 'cause you know I'll be there. I see your true colors shining through. I see your true colors, that's why I love you so don't be afraid to let them show your true colors true colors are beautiful like a rain... bow.
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