Friday, September 7, 2012

Ethel's Story

This is a story of a very special strong woman who had some very difficult times in foster care, but still managed to pull through and come out on top. I think we can all learn from her story! As you read her story take note of her math teacher, we need more people like this math teacher to step up and take an interest in kids, because you never know what kind of a difference you will make in a child's life! You could be the one that helps a child's not so great story turn into a good story.

Ethel's Story
I was conceived in a mental health facility. My mother and father were not mentally capable of caring for me, so I became a ward of the court at six weeks old. I grew up in the DC foster care system, separated from my brother and sister, until I was emancipated. I did not know what day I was born until I became an adult and requested my birth certificate.In many of the foster homes I experienced either psychological or physical abuse. I was beaten with water hoses, broomsticks, ironing cords, and one day even with the iron. Another time I was punched in the eye, and my eye was blackened. At thirteen years old I had become a runaway from the system. It was a cold winter night and I had nothing on but a blouse, and jeans. I had no shoes or coat on. I spent my first night as a runaway sleeping under a car, and later I slept "under" someone's house.
Later I experienced life in a girls’ group home on Kalorama Road. One of the girls tried to stab me. I am marked with a scar to remember the day I fought her for my life. By fifteen years old, I was suicidal and I tried to kill myself. I became teenage alcoholic. At sixteen I became pregnant my junior year in high school. My social worker at Family and Child Services Agency (CFSA) told me that they would not be able to find a home that would accept me with my baby. So she also encouraged me to have an abortion. “I want to keep my baby.” I cried out. How could the system hear this cry when they did not hear the cries of my being abused, and molested?
I had all odds against me and I felt so hopeless. I was moved to a group home in SE. (right off of 28th and Naylor Rd, SE). I wanted to finish school, and keep my baby. I remember walking down the hallway at Anacostia High School, and there was this cloud on the school bulletin board that said, “With God all things are possible."
I took the cloud off the board. I took it home, and taped it to my pregnant belly. I asked God for forgiveness, then I said, “According to your word you said, ‘With you all things are possible." God moved on my behalf. Although my son was taken
and placed in Saint Ann's, a month later we were back together in another foster home.
I did graduate from Theodore Roosevelt High School. My 10th grade math teacher at Anacostia SHS was the only person who encouraged me to go to college. She was there with a willing ear to listen a shoulder to lean on when I needed someone to talk to. She still is a listening ear today. I wrote her letters for over 28 years; although we only lived twenty minutes apart. It was quite therapeutic to have someone to write to. The staff in the group home or social worker did not believe I was intelligent enough to attend college. I went to Potomac Job Corps for two years, was awarded the Most Ambitious Student Award.
After emancipating out of the system both my son and I were homeless. We lived with different people and had to move at least ten times. I was in many abusive relationships with guys.
Nine years later I had a beautiful baby girl, who is now twenty- years old. She is the mother of my first born grandson, who is five months old. Raising two children as a single mother was not easy, but God was my provider.
Later I got the courage to enroll in college. In 1996, I began my undergraduate studies at Strayer University, I made the Dean’s list, and the President’s List, and received my Bachelors of Science in Business Administration. In 2008, I graduated with honors with a Master's in Public Administration, also from Strayer University. I’m grateful because God saw me through.

The rest of Ethel's story is written in "The Heart of A Silent Cry" –By Ethel Carolyn Talley
available on and soon on
E-mail Ethel at for more information.

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