Around 1986 I and my four year old brother Jason entered Foster Care, while living in Lake Elsinore, California. We were placed in several shelter homes before being placed in the home of an uncle. While living with my uncle, his daughter was diagnosed with Cancer. It was too much for his family to handle all at once, so my brother and I moved to a permanent placement foster home.
We lived at that home for several years in Rubidoux, California. While at that home the parents generally had two to four other foster children and their own daughters Alicia and Carissa. Previously I had fallen behind in school, going only when I wanted to. While at that home I caught back up in school through the work of a great teacher I had. Once I had acquired appropriate reading skills, I began to take off. I also had the opportunity to begin being a part of a Boy Scout Troop and be baptized into the local LDS church. The family decided to adopt my brother and I and began the process while moving to Oregon. We moved into a rental home in Aloha, Oregon and later moved into a house across the street that the family purchased.
I have fond memories of hiking through the local park which had a bike trail and a creek bed which was surrounded by a band of trees. As I had become accustomed to, not all good things last. The mother at that home had an issue with depression and other things which required my brother and I to have to be moved out of that home. We stayed with a local family to finish the school year and then we were sent back to California. Our first home back in California was in Canyon Lake. It was my first experience in a highly affluent area. I didn’t fit in at all and struggled at the Junior High. The school was in Lake Elsinore and I quickly found that much of the school was split into cliques or gangs. I ended up hanging out with a group of ‘geeks’ that were of mixed race. This didn’t go well with the local white supremacist gang and I like others were targeted by its members. This began to taper off after I decimated one of the gang members in a fight at the basketball courts. I began to feel like I had found a place, so of course it was time to move again.
The family in Canyon Lake was moving to Arizona and my brother and I moved in with a family in Murrieta, California. While in Murrieta I began my first semester of seventh grade again and began reading a “Samurai’s Tale” for the second time that year. Portions of the curriculum were the same as before and I did better in some areas. I still didn’t really excel in school. As I look back at it, I felt depressed and confused at the continual adaptation I had to perform to just try to fit in. The family in Murrieta already had five kids of their own, so my brother and I added to an already large family with regular customs of their own that were alien to me. I remember a theft of some money occurred in the home. I did not do it, yet I was heavily suspected and blamed. I had my own suspicions but they were not listened to. It still makes me angry to think of that incident of being unfairly charged and tried in a home without proof. The eldest son and I also got in many fights. I think he wanted to feel like the ‘Alpha’ in the home and one thing I learned in Foster Care was to never back down. If you backed down they would just brutalize you again. With all the fighting the decision was made for my brother and I to move on.
We moved in with a family in Temecula, California which had one daughter of their own. I still keep in touch with my ‘sister’ Erin and her mother. While at that home I began again the second semester of seventh grade. I also began a ‘Samurais Tale’ for the third time that year. At that point I felt I was becoming quite the expert on it. In that home under the strict oversight of the mom I began to improve in school. I went from around a 2.0 average to a 3.3 average. It felt good to excel again. I also enjoyed taking long walks through the local desert canyon and thinking. I continued advancement in Boy Scouts. My brother didn’t do well under the strict guidelines and rebelled. He went to a group home in Yucaipa.
Later the pressure of dealing with CPS became too much and that family quit foster care. I was placed in a foster home with six other foster kids in Corona. I started wrestling and enjoyed that. My brother moved to that home to live with me again. I rebelled against the foster care system by being super active in church, since my first amendment right stopped them from limiting my participation. I enlisted in the Army Reserves and I also prepared a mission packet. I knew that I could get a temporary separation to serve a mission. I met Sarah at church dances and began dating her.
I served a two year mission in Colorado and returned home and married Sarah in San Diego. I put her through school while working different jobs. I also deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan for a little over two years total. During my second deployment Joseph was born. At the end of that deployment I was offered a job in San Antonio and now my family lives out here.
Who is Paul Darr?
Paul Darr has lived in the Inland Empire region of California, Oregon, Colorado and currently lives in San Antonio, Texas. Paul is also an Army Veteran, who has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. On the political spectrum Paul is a Libertarian that advocates fiscal responsibility and social tolerance. Paul is currently employed as a Computer Support Technician and is a father of a handsome boy and beautiful daughter. In his free time Paul enjoys reading, using and modifying open source software, gaming and several other geeky pursuits.