Help Eric It Takes A Village
My name is Unique Robinson and I became an instant mother of an amazing 7 ½ year old named Eric on April 24th 2015. I received a letter on March 18th 2014 from the state of Washington informing me that I had a relative in foster care. My brother was in prison so I immediately reached out to my mother to inquire about the situation of my brothers’ son. Side note, my brother has multiple children by different women so I wasn’t in the know of anything surrounding his circumstances. My mother told me that Eric's mother gave guardianship to a non-relative when he was 3 ½ yrs. old and he was mentally and physically abused by that person for four years. The school noticed the bruising on his body and reported it to authorities and that’s how he was placed in foster care.
At that time the maternal grandmother who lived in Washington wanted him to be placed with her. The long short of the story: the system placed Eric in her care; in my opinion this quick decision was made to quickly resolve case. I tried to stay in contact with the maternal grandmother, but I encountered disconnected numbers and/or no returned phone calls.
In November of 2014 I was contacted by the Washington social services again because Eric had been removed out of the maternal grandmother's care in October. They couldn’t give me any information at the time other than he was in a temporary home. The social worker asked if I would consider being a placement home for Eric. I didn’t think twice, my answer was yes. The paperwork began and my journey to motherhood was taking form. I asked for phone privileges because I wanted Eric to know that he wasn’t alone and that his family loved him. The worker had to get the judge’s approval first. The Holidays were approaching fast and no word. I called multiple times a week and in the last week of December I finally received approval for phone privileges. The worker made arrangements with Eric's temporary home caretaker and I spoke to Eric for the first time in January 2015.
When I talked to Eric for the first time I asked if he knew who I was and he said no. Side note, I saw Eric for the first and final time in May 2012 when my brothers drove down to California with my nieces and nephews for our cousin wedding. I asked Eric if he remembered me and he said no. I didn’t expect him to because it was a very brief encounter. Eric went on to say that he didn’t know me, but he was happy that I called him because he thought everyone forgot about him and that no one loved him. I told him that he would never have to wonder if anyone loves or cares about him ever again. I made him a promise that I would call him every day and he would never be alone again. I kept my promise and we spoke every single day until the day he came to live with me.
Let’s fast forward a bit. Upon agreeing to accept permanent placement of Eric I was informed that relatives have three legal options: adoption, guardianship, and foster care. They gave me an overwhelming amount of information for the three options. Adoption and guardianship would give Eric the long-term support of stability, security, and confidence to feel he belonged to someone. Foster care would provide the ongoing support from social services. I made a conscious effort to proceed with adoption. I knew with adoption I would be losing many resources afforded to Eric and me by social services. However, when considering that Eric had been in eight foster care homes and given all he endured in his short life it was a no brainer for me. Eric deserved a restart button, a chance to have a home forever, not temporarily.
Two weeks ago I was given the adverse news from a nonprofit community program which stated that as result of my adopting Eric I no longer quqlify for a childcare stipend they've been providing to me and Eric effective May 23rd. This news is devastating because I am not prepared to pay this expense so suddenly. Figuring out what to do the remaining two weeks of the school and summer is the burden causing me to lose sleep at night. I have no resolve for how to manage paying for his summer care. I’ve gone over my numbers, eliminated all variables to bare necessities like rent, car, gas, food, and utilities. I would need many months to prepare for that type of expense and time isn’t on my side.
Let me share one last story with you. When I went to pick Eric up from Washington for permanent placement I met with his second grade teacher who was an absolute angel by the way. She gave me the naked truth of his experience in her class, and it was a harsh reality for me. Eric was at the end of his second grade year and could not read nor write, and had limited math skills. Most efforts in the classroom were exhausted just to stabilize him mentally. He was constantly in tears, emotional outburst, in constant fear of where he would live, etc. After meeting with his teacher, and my prior research I made the decision to have Eric repeat second grade. There is no record of Eric attending preschool, kindergarten, and his first grade records yielded identical issues as his second grade. Eric is a resilient, determined, and intelligent boy. We’ve grown leaps and bounds since entering each others lives. Eric is now able to read and write.
However, he has so much lost time to makeup for. In the formative years when Eric should have been learning his phonics and basic math he was enduring circumstances that no child should ever experience. I’ve done my research and he is in need of more than tutoring. Eric doesn’t need help with homework; he needs help building his foundation of reading and math that due to unfortunate events he didn’t get a chance to formulate. These are competencies needed to thrive in true academic success. There is still time to repair Eric’s lost years. I found a program capable of meeting his needs.
I need my village. The proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.” This is a truth I’m witnessing in real life today. Anyone who knows me, I mean really knows me, knows I work hard and have pushed through some of the most challenging circumstances. This is bigger than me; this is for my son Eric. This sweet baby has changed my life and is deserving of all things good. I have laid down every ounce of pride; I willingly give it all away. His happiness is the very air I breathe. I stand here bare with my heart completely exposed. I cannot do this on my own. I need you. In many foreign cultures the village raises the child. Where is the community/village here in the states? It’s right here….YOU! If you’re reading this you’re the village I am calling.
Will you be the active village member that I know you are? Will you help me raise this astounding child? The funds will be used to secure Eric’s education program and his summer camp.
I hope all is well with each and every one of you. I cannot thank you ALL enough for your support and love. It's because of you that he has been able to thrive academically and has a very strong foundation. Eric's 5th grade year has been phenomenal thus far and I know it will only get better. I will continue to update you on his progress as well and his accomplishments via social media pages. We love each and everyone of you. Eric loves you ALL and he always talks about his Village and how lucky he is to have a whole Village love him. Anytime we face challenges he says can you tell the Village they will help us and vice versa when things are happening great he ask if I can post an update so you all can see. I'm going to keep the website open www.HelpEricItTakesAVillage.org and make that our platform for all things wonderful about Eric now and future so stay tuned as I transition the site to God's blessing and my greatest treasure. From the most inner most part of my heart and soul. Thank you and I love you.
With Appreciation and love,
Unique & Eric
I want to thank you all for being our support and loving us continuously and unconditionally. It's been on my heart to be transparent with you but I was nervous. I know many of you wondered why I stopped my spotlight post or why my updates on Eric lessened throughout the campaign. I wear my heart on my sleeves my emotions embody my mind, heart and spirit. Last year I faced a lot of adversity, negativity and backlash because of the campaign. Someone started a rumor that I was soliciting people at my place of employment and that I was making people feel uncomfortable for not donating to campaign. My character was being questioned and things were being said about me that I couldn't image. My work ethic was being questioned and my livelihood was at risk. I was later vindicated and all rumors were dismissed. However, for months I spiraled into a depression and dark a cloud covered me like I've never experienced. I literally almost broke. My personal life was being used against me in the most challenging way. I couldn't muster the strength to post for fear that my every action was being scrutinized. Nevertheless, there is sunshine after the storm and rainbows after the flood. In the midst of it all ALL of you continued to pour your heart and love and I appreciate you. We appreciate you!!! Our Village is STONG and we're so blessed to have each any EVERY one of you in our Village. Thank you for loving us unconditionally.
With Love & Appreciation,
Unique & Eric
Unique & Eric
Picture below: Eric's art work on display at the School District office.
Our baby is doing stellar. He's going full steam ahead. His first week of school he came home and said, "I'm one of the smart kids in the class". That might seem minor but that is extremely significant. Why? Eric's confidence in himself and his abilities was deminished. No matter how much I told him how amazing, intelligent, and brilliant he was it didn't resonate. Eric spent many of his early years emotionally broken because of persons who were supposed to care for him psychologically abused him in addition to their physical abuse. So for him to have this confidence inward is such a blessing. The foundation laid at Huntington Learning Group will continue to flourish as he's in program. THANK you #HelpEricItTakesAVillage members ALL 151 of you for affording Eric such an wondeful opportunity to develop a strong foundation in reading and math through 1:1 tutoring. We Love you all so very much.
I'm so grateful for our Village. It's definitely challenging being a single mother. Challenges I never wanted for myself. I prided myself in waiting to have children so that I could afford my child a life much different than my upbringing. However, God sought different someone needed me and I needed him. Instant motherhood. In 4th grade there are more needs. One of those which is music. I didn't have funds to rent Eric's musical instrument, and he choose the cello. Nor did I have the funds for Eric's soccer gear. God is so great. It took ALL of me to reach out to a couple Village memebers because I was trying to make it work on my own. Thank God I reached out. I received immediate responses from both persons thrilled to help Eric and I. That same day (Friday) Laura Robins met me at music store that afternoon paid the $152 upfront cost and will pay $52 monthly for entire school year. She also gave me $150 cash to pay for Eric's soccer gear and any miscellaneous items he needed. Wow!! Eric started music class yesterday with his cello and he was so thrilled. Eric had his first soccer game on Saturday and played his heart out, and they won 7-1. All I could do is cry and thank God. I know God will not put more on me than I can bear. So grateful for my Village. Thank you for loving us.
I've been told foster care now for 20 years I got the three of my cousin yes it is hard the one thing I need to let you know there are funds out there for kids like him we just have to network together and we will help you find those funds and your community please inbox me your information where you at anyway that I can reach you and I will be glad to not work what I know to help you thank you and God bless you