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alternate text At 5 Years Old I was Removed From a Broken Home

I sometimes have to pinch myself to make sure that I am not dreaming. Today, blessed with so much, and a beautiful family of my own, it is hard to believe those early years when I was removed from a broken home, and placed into foster care. Unfortunately, in our society, we hear many stories of broken homes, abusive parents, neglected children and so much more.

Many people turn their heads away and do nothing. Thankfully, that is not what happened in my case. At eight years old, I, along with my siblings, was placed with OHEL. My younger sister and I were placed with a caring and loving family, the Schickmans, OHEL Foster Parents – who already had two children of their own. I found a loving home and became part of a loving family. From the day we arrived, we were loved and treated as their very own. I have never met a family with bigger hearts. I found a loving home and became part of a loving family. 

Five years later, the Schickmans took in my other two siblings that at the time were in other foster homes. It broke their hearts to see us split up. They didn’t stop there. A year later the Schickmans took in another girl, and for years to come the Schickmans continued to open their hearts and home to other foster children in need. I guess you can say we are one BIG happy family!

There was a time I had the opportunity to speak with my biological mother. I explained to her that I was no longer upset, sad or even mad at her. Rather, I sought to offer her words of comfort in that she should give herself credit in having done the right thing – as difficult as it was for her at the time. I have the most amazing parents and family I always wanted. I am loved, well taken care of and have wonderful friends.

Today, I am married and have a beautiful daughter. I feel as if I have accomplished so much in my life that may not have happened otherwise. I graduated from Queens College and am about to complete my Masters in special and regular education at Touro College. I have always wanted to give back to OHEL in some way. I worked at OHEL Bais Ezra as a case worker, then went on to become a residence manager for one of their homes. It was truly a rewarding experience. I hope some day to give back in a bigger way and become an OHEL foster parent. Having a child does not necessarily make you a parent. It is taking care of and loving them that make one a mother and a father. I have always called the Schickmans “Mom and Dad” because that is what they truly are to me. I remember telling my mother a quote I had heard: “The difference between a biological child and a foster child is that a biological child grows in your stomach, and a foster child grows in your heart.” 

OHEL gave me a home that nurtured my heart to love a family of my own.

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