Chaos is normal to foster youth but with Alexis and Justin Black’s book, “Redefining Normal: How Two Foster Kids Beat the Odds and Discovered Healing, Happiness, and Love,” they aim to create a better life for themselves as well as show other survivors a pathway to healing and growth.
Alexis Black has been through a lot. Alexis was six-years-old when her mother died by suicide. As if that wasn’t tragic enough, Alexis went to live with her father who would go on to abuse her in every way possible for the next 8 years. Alexis was able to escape his abuse when her friend told her mother, who then immediately called the police. Her father would go on to receive six counts of first-degree child abuse and was sentenced to a minimum of 15-25 years in prison.
Justin Black spent his childhood growing up in Detroit, Michigan. It was in Detroit where he avoided CPS, normalized the rampant drug use around him while also living in abandoned housing and hopping from one homeless shelter to another. Winter in an abandoned house was particularly rough for him and his family. With no running water or heat, Justin spent months scooping snow off of the ground, then carried those buckets inside and waited for the icy snow to melt. The melted snow was used as water for his makeshift showers. Then there were the years in foster care.