At the age of five, I remember sitting on the floor outside of the courtroom playing with a classic bead rollercoaster maze to keep myself entertained. I was not sure why we were there, but I never had the opportunity to go back home after that day. Instead, I was immersed into a brand new setting filled with more love than I had ever received from both of my parents. It was from the woman who has never left my side, my grandmother. At the peak of her golden years, age 63, she took me in and has raised me ever since, even after she raised her own children and my sister from the day she was born. Throughout the many hardships that have changed the course of my life (my father’s death and my mother’s substance abuse), my grandmother’s devotion to giving me her all and whatever she could never failed. I am not the only child raised by their grandparents, as 18,970 children in New York City are under the responsibility of their grandparents. I am also not the only child with a parent who has substance abuse issues, as more than 8 million children live with at least one parent facing this disease.
It is because of these obstacles, the judge, and those lawyers fighting for my best interest that day made me who I am today. They are the reason I am...