Author Ben Raymond, Who Put Himself In Foster Care As A Teen, Offers Advice To Brothers Who Claim…

Well Ben, you did do it, and you’ve been very successful, and I say that, not just in a business sense, but in… Every walk in your life, and the thing that I’ve been concerned about with these three that I’m so happy to have you talk about, is that if they carry this bitterness, and anger, and hurt in their lives, whether they mean for it to or not, it impacts their families, it impacts their children, at some point they’ve gotta turn loose of that, right? Absolutely. I think for myself, I try to control the situation, I know you guys have said you wanna keep your mother out of your life, and with my mother and my father, I tried to control the situation. Plenty of times that I wanted to check out from my mother, my father, facing rejection, but what I didn’t realize was that was on my heart. Whether you guys cut her off or not, it’s gonna be on your heart. I can see it in each one of you guys’ faces. You want her to win, but do we really trust the situation? And I think for me, I had to realize, that I could still love my father, and I could still love my mother, not necessarily what they were doing, but they’re my mother and my father, and for me to let go, and put boundaries in place. You know, my father’s in prison right now. I visit him when I choose to. I have a good relationship with him, but there’s days I don’t wanna talk to him. There’s days that I feel resentment, I’m angry. There’s days with my mother, where I don’t understand. And you guys have to be open with your feelings and trust the process. And I know that your mother wants to take the steps, but I also encourage you guys to take the steps, and you know, get in counseling, and walking through your feelings, ’cause it’s gonna carry over to your wives, and also your children. When you made the decision, and you talk about it in here, but I’ll let you say it instead of me. When you made the decision to put yourself in foster care, and get on a different path, what was your driving force? What were you moving away from, and what were you moving towards? Unfortunately for me, I saw the surroundings. Abuse, drugs, all the things I knew weren’t right. And I didn’t know what to do. My force was I wanted a better life. You know, I knew I was gonna be in jail, I was gonna be incarcerated, I was gonna do a lot of the decisions that my mother and father did if I stayed in the same circumstances. So I didn’t have the answers, but you know, I just knew I wanted a better life, and I made the call to my high school coach, and from there, propelled me to live with three different families, over four year period in high school. Just really understanding myself, talking through my issues, because all the way at 27 is the first time I had a real conversation with my father. Saw him at seven, didn’t see him again for 20 years. Had my first real conversation in federal prison with my father. So for so many years, high school graduation, playing in front of 20,000 fans, the scariest day of my life was having my first man to man conversation with my father, to let him know how he hurt me. And I spend a lot of days crying to myself, a lot of days wondering, you know, could I have a family? You know, could I raise a great family? ‘Cause, you know, all I’ve saw was dysfunction. And I’m here to tell you, you can. I’ve got a beautiful wife, I have a beautiful son, who has both his parents. And you guys have the opportunity to do that with your kids. And I know that you guys are doing that now. But you also have to understand, my son is gonna know that his grandfather is my father, and yes, he went to jail, and he made bad choices. Your kids have to know who you’re byproducts of, how great you guys are. Yeah, that’s always the hardest part, is I don’t know how to tell my kids, you know, and I don’t know how to set up the boundaries you were talking, yeah. Like I just don’t know what those are.

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