Growing up, Shawn served as the parent in his family taking care of both his siblings and his parents at times. His parents would let Shawn and his siblings outside to play, not caring where they went, and would actually lock them out of the house. Shawn was then left to look after his siblings. In addition to taking care of his siblings, Shawn would also do basic tasks around the house including locking the doors and turning off lights multiple times during the night because his parents weren’t in the right mind to do so.
Shawn and his siblings were placed into foster care in 2004 when his younger brother was born with meth in his system. While in foster care, Shawn was in two different foster homes and also struggled with the fact that he had to move away from his friends and parents. Foster care did have some benefits for Shawn including realizing that “there is always someone out there to help.” In regards to having a stable home environment, Shawn also said, “I was actually able to call a place home.” Shawn thought his foster parents were very nice and allowed him to see his parents which helped ease the process and transition for him.
Unfortunately Shawn’s father died due to an infection that was caused by using needles and his mother also died because of an over dose. In 2007, Shawn left foster care and moved in with his grandparents. Living with his grandparents was very hard at first. He acted out and his grades were also suffering. He is very grateful for his grandparents though because they enrolled Shawn in the Rabiner Treatment Center. While here, Shawn worked on anger management and daily choices. He also attended counseling and a grief group which allowed him to get the help he needed.
Attending AMP meetings has also helped Shawn with leadership skills and has made him more comfortable talking in front of others. Shawn says that he has learned it is okay “to get over the fear of telling anyone.” He wants other youth to know that there is someone else out there just like you and you are not the only one out there. The experience of being at AMP retreats and listening to other people’s stories has shown Shawn that there are people who have been though the same process and understand what you are going through.
Shawn is currently fourteen years old and has done a lot of reflection regarding his parents and his time in foster care. He knows that his parents loved him and his siblings very much but it was hard for them to take care of their children because of the drugs. He is thankful for his foster parents, Rabiners, and AMP for helping him through this process.
After graduating high school, Shawn plans on starting vet school. Shawn has always enjoyed working with animals and thinks they are fascinating.