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If I had five minutes to talk to a kid entering foster care, here’s what I’d say to them. And if I could talk with them every day, I’d go over these things with them again and again. But I can’t. So I wrote them down. Please share. Thanks, Ken
This pocket-guide offers easy tips, which are often overlooked, for success in the foster care system and beyond. Drawing on his past experiences as a system kid, Mr. Marteney, offers insightful advice on how a few simple actions can have a huge impact on a foster child’s experience in the system.
Ken Marteney is a third-generation foster kid from the Los Angeles area, having lived in foster homes, boys’ homes, and group homes. After successfully navigating the system, Ken worked his way around the globe traveling as far east as England and as far west as Hawaii.
He’s a normal guy that just happened to have grown up in extraordinary circumstances. He is passionate about kids not only surviving, but thriving while in foster care.
Ken feels like he’s won the lottery every day. He currently resides in Texas, happily married with three kids.
Sending gratitude out to Moorbey over at Moorbey’z Blog for awarding me the Versatile Blogger award. If you haven’t checked out his site please head over and have a look around. I’m truly honored to have received this award from such a passionate and empowered individual.
1-Thank and link back to the person who awarded you.
2-Nominate 15 bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award and include a link to their site (and tell them that you have nominated them).
3-State 7 things about yourself.
7 THINGS ABOUT ME:
1. I used to have a problem with authority, now I just call it living against the grain
2. I grew up in Los Angeles and now live in a small Texas town
3. I drink crazy strong coffee
4. I just finished coaching my first season of U8 soccer
5. I’ve got two screenplay projects in development
6. Actively looking for distribution channels to get my book into foster kids’ hands
7. Goals: set up a global organization for lifetime mentoring for foster kids and set up a global organization for investigating and filing charges against those that prey on foster kids
Congratulations to all the nominees!
Liebster Award given to Potentially Disruptive by Billie at Ireland, MS and Me
I was recently nominated for a Liebster Award. It basically means “lovely” in German, but also — sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome. It’s an award for up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers. I’m honored to have been nominated for it. Thank you to Billie, a truly inspirational blogger over at Ireland, MS and Me, for the nomination. Be sure to check her out — the girl LOVES Ireland! And, as the definition reads, “welcome” to my blog and I hope you find yourself “welcome” at the blogs I’ve nominated at the end of this post. Check them out, too!
Here are the Liebster Rules:
1. List 11 facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
3. Create 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award.
4. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or less followers to nominate.
5. Go to each bloggers page and let them know about the award.
6. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
11 Facts about Me:
1. I’m a third generation foster kid who has broken the cycle
2. I like popcorn popped in coconut oil
3. When I was a toddler I had long curly hair and people thought I was a girl
4. These days I have very little hair on my head — it’s mostly on my back
5. I’m a caveman
6. I think I’m superman
7. The Mega Stuff Oreo is the only Oreo I don’t pull apart to eat
8. I like alcohol but not drunks (sorry to any of you reading)
9. I’m originally from California but now live in Texas
10. I’m always striving to be a better husband and father
11. My wife says I might be lying about #10
11 Questions Answered:
1. What does blogging mean to you?
2. Does everyone you know love the idea of you putting your words out there in the blogging world?
No. Not really. A lot of my subject matter is touchy to my inner-circles.
3. If you could be published, would you write things you do not stand behind?
4. If you could return or go to college, would you pick the same subjects you initially studied?
I only took two classes at a community college — volleyball and weight lifting. At the time it was cheaper than a gym membership. I always wanted to be a yogi, but there just wasn’t enough punching and kicking involved. Seriously though, information is pretty much free now. You can learn anything you want these days.
5. What do books mean to you?
Thoughts from the greats.
6. Did blogging change your mindset about life, i.e. do you look at yourself the same way you did before starting a blog?
It’s been a huge paradigm shift. Thoughts and information can now be shared freely. There’s not some old man in a suit deciding which ideas are good and which are bad. People get to decide that for themselves.
7. Who is your favorite author and why?
Kahlil Gibran. His words are like honey.
8. Did life turn out the way you thought it would?
Nope. No way. When I was little I thought I would be a bank robber.
9. Aside from blogging, what other interests do you have?
Pretty much any outdoor activity with my family, playing chess and coaching soccer.
10. Do you want to be inspirational or be inspired yourself?
That’s like reading or writing — which would you choose? The two ideas are intertwined. To be inspirational and to be inspired are one in the same. And I actively participate in both.
11. Fun fact: just tell us a funny story or fact to end this long blog post to keep a positive imprint of your words on our brains 🙂
You know why it’s dangerous for birds to kiss? They might get cherpies.
The Bloggers I’ve Nominated for the Liebster Award
11 New Questions
If you were nominated, these questions are for you.
1. Tell me in three words what you would say if you could whisper to a billion people and they were actively listening?
2. If you were in command of a billion people and they had to follow your orders, what would be the first order you gave them?
3. What is your favorite dish to cook? If you don’t cook, what’s your favorite dish a friend makes for you?
4. What’s the recipe? I’m gonna try it.
5. What is your favorite all time song?
6. What would you be if you could be anything that you wanted to be?
7. In three words describe what writing/blogging means to you?
8. If you could do a road trip anywhere in the world what vehicle would you drive?
9. Who is humanities ultimate hero?
10. Tell me a mystery from your family history.
11. Write me a Haiku. Just kidding. No seriously. Write me one. Just kidding.
12. What is your one favorite word? Not concept. Word. Mine is Cucamonga. Doesn’t it feel like it gets all the cobwebs out of your mouth?
Let’s be clear
On the topic of fear
Is it the dark
Is it the fact
Everyone thinks you’re a mark
Nobody has your back
When you’re attacked
Living in that home
Wishing everyone would leave you alone
You’re thinking Darwin was right
The pecking order requires you to fight
Again and again
That revolving door seems to never end
The key to success is finding a friend
There is someone around you can trust
This action is a must
Be careful who you pick
Don’t fall for a trick
Look for somebody your own age
Don’t feed in to each other’s rage
The answer is not a gun
The question is
How do you have fun
The more you laugh
The more you smile
The more you reject
The system’s bile
It keeps your heart clean
Which stops you from being mean
It’s not cool to fail
It’s not cool to go to jail
It doesn’t make you tough
It’s just a bunch of fluff
Coming from kids that are confused
Don’t be that muse
I’ll tell you what’s tight
Standing up for what’s right
Have fun and keep your mind clear
And watch your fear disappear
I was the kind of foster kid that would stand with you till the end if you were my friend.
Even if it meant standing up to someone bigger, we would both get beat up together.
Even if it meant going AWOL to see some family, I would go with you.
When family members let you down, I would be the one to say dude why do you think we’re here.
I was the kid that would introduce you to everyone when you were new.
I was the kid that would always show you around school.
I was also the kid that would incite a riot.
I was one of those kids that was never quiet.
I was one of those kids that had a knack for getting out of jams.
I was one of those kids that was never really sad.
I always figured out a way of having fun.
That’s what got me through the system.
One of my many placements was MacLaren Hall, Los Angeles county’s hell hole. I spent over a year there — and I still have no complaints.
I was in there when the staff could put their hands on you. Give you a little wall to wall counseling.
I saw my fair share of solitary, known as Room One, where you’re stripped down to your underwear with just a mat in an eight by eight room and the bright lights never go out.
My system ride was no picnic.
It was like a wave of violence and dysfunction in an ocean of despair.
I say keep your eyes open, don’t turn your back on that wave. It will crush you.
Paddle out to it and surf it.
Look at it as an adventure.
You’ll come out less beat up in the end.
It is amazing how a simple conversation can inspire.
It’s amazing how the digital world can take that inspiration and spread it all over the globe.
Being a former system kid, I thought about what I would tell a kid currently in the system.
I want them to know not only how to survive but how to thrive in foster care.
I put it on paper Thursday.
Revised it Friday and Saturday.
Published it Monday.
It will be ready for distribution in a couple of days.
It only cost a thought but will benefit so many.
The digital world has brought down the gate keepers.
I want to thank my digital community.
I want to thank all the people who post.
I want to thank all the people who like and comment.
If it wasn’t for the spark from you this idea would never have ignited.
Thanks for your support.
This is what the explosion looks like.
The age old struggle of two very different perspectives living under one roof.
I think I’ll have a vodka, pina colada, dah-dah-dah-dah-dah….
Stand tall my little ones
It’s not your fault
After surviving the lies
Don’t be afraid to look others in the eyes
Stand tall when those about you fall
Speak for the weak
Screaming their stories from the highest peak
I will listen for your call
You’re not alone