I met Amelia when she testified at a Rhode Island House Oversight Committee meeting this summer. She sat patiently at a table with two others, waiting her turn to read her prepared statement. She was responding to the death of a child in state care in January. 

Amelia: The death of this child is a tragedy. It’s heartbreaking. And it’s terrifying.

At first, she seemed nervous. But about a minute into her testimony, something in her voice changed. 

Amelia: Excuse me. I’m not going to read off this paper. I’ll just say how I feel. As a youth in foster care testifying to someone else’s death, that could be me. That could be any foster youth out here. So as you guys make this decision, just keep in mind that our voices matter.

After the hearing, I asked her if she would share more of her experience as a young adult aging out of foster care. As part of our series, Living In Limbo, Amelia recorded this audio diary on her last night living with a foster family.

Amelia: Okay. Hi. It's about to be 9 o'clock. And right now I'm in my foster home. I'm moving out tomorrow and into my own apartment. And I have to... I still have like a little bit of stuff out that I have to pack. 

But to be genuinely honest with y'all, this is one of the best foster homes I have ever been in. And every time I say it I get emotional. Because I've never been asked before... to all the foster homes I have lived in, I never heard the parents says I'm always welcome to come back. And she always constantly checks in with me. Like, I had to take the bus for the first time yesterday to school and she made sure she checked in with me. How was I feeling? Did I make it on time for the classes? 

Or the best part was, she said to me, "Make a list of stuff that you need and we could come visit, we can come over to help.” And that to me just truly warms my heart and it makes me super emotion. Cus it's one of the best feelings I have ever felt in a very long time.  

This is a very new chapter in my life, living on my own. And due to the fact I have never lived on my own before. I'm very independent, but I never lived on my own. And something I have learned over the past year is that as I'm on my way to pursuing another chapter to my life, I'm gonna make mistakes. I'm gonna fail. I'm gonna stumble. I'm gonna cry. I'm gonna get agitated. I'm gonna get frustrated. I want to cuss, break stuff, run away... Those are all regular emotion that regular human beings gets. So I have a good team of people who I can always call, talk to. And that’s truly important.

Yeah, so I have to get up now and start finishing packing. I want to cry ‘cause this bed is so frickin comfortable. Like, oh Jesus, this bed is comfortable. I like the vibe of the room. When you walk in you see the bed, you see like a little hanger thing. It has my clothes on it. And then my shoes on a little rack.

And that's pretty much it. I'm excited. I'm nervous. My body's intense. My head hurts. But I think I got this. I got this. 

Amelia’s story continues, as she navigates the challenges of living on her own for the first time, and begins to settle into this new chapter of her life.