He had to first overcome a childhood filled with trauma, learn how to love in a healthy way, and unlearn all the maladaptive parenting methods modeled for him throughout his youth. In his brave and candid memoir, 10,000 Hills: A Little Boy’s Journey, C.T. writes about the abuse he experienced at the hands of his mother and later his adopted father. Plunged into the foster care system, he was separated from his siblings and shuttled between multiple foster homes before settling in with an adoptive family. He endured rampant racism as the only black child in his small, Midwestern town, and he found very little peace or protection at his school or church. Devastatingly, he endured many years of further abuse at the hands of his adoptive family.
In his memoir, this incredible leader reveals how he was able to live through the suffering and beat the overwhelming odds stacked against him. While his message of survival and eventual success is inspirational, C.T.’s underlying purpose in his sharing his tragic early life story is to give an insider perspective on what children in foster care experience and what adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse endure long after the abuse stops. C.T. also reveals the long-term impact of not being connected to biological families. Sharing his reaction to being reunited as an adult with his baby sister, he writes:
“We exchanged information and parted ways… It’s not that I disliked her. It was just that there was nothing really to talk about. We had no memories to share. It was like meeting a distant cousin. I guess I didn’t do much to keep the relationship going [because] I really didn’t know how.”
Connections matter. When a government system removes children from everything they know, severing ties with loving siblings, extended family, and community, the inevitable result is unnecessary trauma.
Connect Our Kids tech platform helps professionals easily find extended family members and other potential supportive networks, so that the belonging and connection needed to maintain emotional well-being and security are prioritized.
Smart technology didn’t exist when C.T. grew up in the foster care system. Before we launched our platform in 2021, child welfare professionals did not have access to modern technology to perform the family search and engagement processes that are critical to ensuring caring, permanent placements that honor ties to family and community. Our platform was designed with the most forward leaning child welfare professionals in the country, with the intention of keeping children connected with their siblings and safe extended family and community members to ensure that supportive, loving bonds remain intact.
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