Next time you think about giving up, remember Cory Carter.
Carter grew up in over 26 foster homes. And yet Carter has graduated from college, has a good job, lives in his first apartment and finally–just last year at the age of 26, he was adopted.
“I have no recollection of being with my birth family,” said Carter, who only knew he was born in Tampa and had at least three sisters. “My mom was a drug addict and had a lot of problems.
“I only saw my mom two times. The first time was after I got a call from a hospice. I didn’t even know what a hospice was. I was 17 and had just graduated from high school.”
At the hospice, a nurse told him it was his mother’s “dying wish” to see him. “She looked like a bag of bones. She was dying from two kinds of cancer. The only thing she could do was gasp for air,” Carter recalled. “The next day I got a call saying she died. The next time I saw my mom (she) was in the casket.”
At the funeral, he saw his three sisters he hadn’t seen in years.
“The first foster couple adopted my sisters but they didn’t adopt me,” Carter explained. “There were eight of us. At my mom’s funeral that was when I met all my sisters and brothers.”
Early in life, he found out he was different than the other kids in his classes.
“Once at elementary school one of my case workers got on the PA system and announced, ‘I’m here to pick up our foster child by the name of Cory Carter.’
He remembers, “Kids laughed. That’s when I really felt I wasn’t like other people.”
Much of his childhood he couldn’t participate in some sports activities because he needed a guardian to be there as a chaperone. He was very unhappy.
“Honestly, I tried to kill myself over six times,” he said. “I didn’t have anyone to care for me. It was hard to believe in God. If God was so good why did he let this happen?
“I grew up in the streets–in every part of Tampa (Fla.). I experienced so many nationalities and religions before I was 16,” he said. “I dealt with a lot of abuse. I felt like an adult by the time I was 14…”
He attended different schools each time he changed homes. In seventh grade he was expelled from school after beating up another kid who made a “mama joke,” not knowing anything about Carter’s family life.
Still, Carter managed to keep up with his school work.
In 2004 in the twelfth grade, he aged out of foster care. He had already left his last home after a disagreement with his foster parents.
In high school, he finally got to play football, which meant he could stay at school until late at night. He was living from sofa to sofa, staying with friends. Sometimes he slept in the baseball dugout at his high school.
He said after graduation people in foster care encouraged him to go into the military, but he decided going to college would be his way out of homelessness.
“The year I graduated I was the No. 2 receiver in my football league,” said Carter.