I was born Tayshun Jordan Michael Bean on November 3rd, 2001, in Mesquite, Texas, to Kesha Williams. I went into foster care at the age of 4 years old. I had many experiences in the foster care system. I was in and out of foster homes, both good and bad. Many of the good experiences were with my little sister Taylor. I also have an older brother, whom I do not know so well because we were separated into different homes while in foster care. Sometime around my 6th birthday I was supposed to meet my mom but that did not happen because I found out that she had been killed a couple of days before my birthday. This event was a sad part in my life along with the time I flew to Dayton, Ohio. I was supposed to be adopted by a family who wanted me, but they later changed their minds. These were both heartbreaking times in my life. The excitement from these two events were short lived as the plans did not fall through but it was after these incidents, I made it my mission to get adopted, by anyone. At that point I did not care who it was. I just wanted to be somewhere permanently.
In 2010, I arrived at Ridgeview Drive hoping that this would be my final destination. From the jump, I made it clear that I wanted to be adopted. I stayed at this home for a little over three years and I had saw many kids go in and out of the Taylor’s house. I began to become hopeless thinking it would never happen for me. I remember sitting on the stairs and praying to be in a home. I did not know it, but my prayers were being heard and they were being answered. Ms. Taylor’s mother came to visit often. I remember thinking how wonderful she was. For almost 4 years, Ms. Taylor was my foster mother but on April 3rd, 2014 she became my sister. Ms. Taylor’s mom and dad, Jeannie and Ricky adopted me. For the first time in my life, I had a forever home. I moved to Conway and my journey of uncertainty had come to an end. Six months later after being adopted, we legally changed my name to Tayshun Jordan Michael Mattison. For the first time, I felt accepted. I had a mom, dad, a 45 year old sister, a 39 year old brother and many nieces and nephews. I even have a nephew the same age as me. I had a family.
Now it has been 4 years and I am a junior in high school. Even though my high school career will be coming to an end, I feel like my life is just beginning. Some of the goals that I have for the future is to get my high school diploma and go to college. I don’t quite know what I want to do yet but I do know that I want to be successful. I am very self-motivated. I have gone through some of this stuff by myself and obtained bumps, scars and bruises. But through it all, I keep my head high. When I turn 18 my mom is going to give me files from foster care. I am anxious to see how much I have grown. My love and involvement in sports and other recreational activities have helped me to overcome all adversity.
On August 16, 2017, my adopted papa Roy Lee Jones Sr. passed away. He was a big influence in my life. His legacy and love for family still lives on and will always be a part of me. Aside from him, my role model and hero is my mom Jeannie Mattison. Her love for family comes from her dad, my papa. She is my role model because she believes in me even when I don’t believe in myself at times. She has always treated me like her son and nothing less. She has owned and operated her daycare for over 40 years and through it she has touched many people’s lives. My mom is the best and I have the best family in the world. I am Tayshun Jordan Michael Mattison, and this is my story.
— Tayshun is a junior at Mayflower High School. He is a member of the football, basketball and track teams and several academic organizations. He is an honor roll student. He aspires to go to Texas A&M or Baylor University to pursue business and marketing degrees. This essay was written as an assignment for Sabrena Thacker’s Advanced Placement U.S. History class.