Evaine Kirkland and Tara Kirkland-Rainey

Recorded May 10, 2016 Archived May 10, 2016 00:00 minutes
Audio not available

Interview ID: SFD001457


Evaine Kirkland (21) and his mother Tara Kirkland-Rainey (61) talk about becoming an adopted family and how Evaine's life has changed.

Subject Log / Time Code

E an T remember the first time that they met.
T talks about the long process of adopting E.
E talks about what it felt like to graduate from high school.
E says how important it has been to have a family meal every night.
E talks about how far he has come since the age of 14.
E had a teacher in the Black Student Union that inspired him when he was in high school.
E wants to help other foster kids feel successful and give back.
E recalls his first memory of being in the front yard of his birth parents home.
E and his brother have developed a very strong bond ever since his brother stood up for him.


  • Evaine Kirkland
  • Tara Kirkland-Rainey

Recording Locations

Children's Bureau: Magnolia Place Family Center

Partnership Type

Fee for Service



StoryCorps uses Google Cloud Speech-to-Text and Natural Language API to provide machine-generated transcripts. Transcripts have not been checked for accuracy and may contain errors. Learn more about our FAQs through our Help Center or do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions.

00:04 My name is tarah. Kirkland-rainey. I'm 61 years old today is May 10th 2016. We're in Los Angeles and I am a mother to AV he was my foster son, but we just got through the adoption process in March.

00:27 My name is avian kirkland-rainey. I'm 21. Today's date is May 10th 2016. We are in Los Angeles and I am the son of Turin kirkland-rainey.

00:41 And I got adopted before I turn 21.

00:48 Vivian what was the first time that you guys met?

00:53 Yes, I do actually before we met I had to I sent a book full of pictures and information and everything just about my whole family right now and I got asked if I wanted to meet them in person and I said yes, and we met in a small room at the Palmdale children's Department Services, and that's where I first met my parents.

01:27 What county am I in?

01:30 At first it was a little scary cuz I was 17 and I was wondering you know, why someone would want to adopt someone that's already 17. I'm basically grown up already and

01:47 You know, it was just it was a new experience that Dino to have someone be interested in, you know, you becoming, you know fully a part of their family.

01:59 Cuz baby you've been in a lot of foster homes.

02:02 How many I know you added up at one time 67 I believe around that.

02:16 And I remember the first time that we met two.

02:19 And I knew from the moment. I saw you I had to hurt you.

02:24 What weather

02:29 Well, we had started the process probably about a year-and-a-half beforehand and it was a long process doing all the classes and just to get to that point and we thought they would send us names of children that were available and we want it older children. We wanted an older child, but we didn't really care too much about the age but we prefer an older child didn't care about the sex about about the ethnicity. We just wanted someone who would fit into our family and they've given us other like I said other names other possibilities and

03:16 Gustavus story just seem to be the one.

03:20 That really touched us too and really we just knew.

03:25 And then we met and then we had what they call a date where you came and stayed with us for a weekend. And I remember when you when it was time for you to go you said do I have to go I remember that distinctly and I was wishing you hadn't but that was the rules, but it wasn't long after that like a week or two after that way you came for good.

03:52 What does it feel like to have lived in over 60 different Islands throughout the course of your shoulder device?

04:00 I'll say is quite the experience where you walking to, you know over 60 a different homes and just be having to meet start over that many times or have having to build relationships that many times you start to learn how to make friends pretty quick, but I would say, it takes a toll on you a little bit cuz you don't know.

04:32 When you're going to move next to her, you know, someone's going to kick you out or so. I just I always kept my bags packed, you know, cuz I never knew when the next time I will just have to leave so I never really unpacked anything.

04:47 Are you in?

04:50 Even when I finally moved in with my mom, I think I still have like a backpack one time and she came my room. She asked me why I didn't and I had a bag that was packed and you know, I told her I told her why and you know, she told me that I would never you know, I never had to go anywhere and sell. You know, how many backpacks are. In fact, I don't worry about food, you know, it was a it was it was a relief, you know to have enough to be finally in a place where you can call your home, you know, and I have to worry about like the next time you going to eat or you know having to move or go somewhere and

05:36 It was just a different feeling as a different now.

05:39 Is a different experience, you know, and I think that's why I

05:44 That's one of the reasons why I think I'm here today. It's kind of just explaining to people that died.

05:50 Is kids out there that they need that cuz you don't you don't know who you have in your house, you know, you can have the next president next billionaire. You have next World's Greatest best scientist or anything and you know, all you all they need is a little love.

06:08 I remember when 80 came to us. He was a senior in high school, but he had missed a lot of school being bounced around so much and he was behind a lot of credit. Unfortunately, you got to be in your dad's class for part of the school year and it was really cool how the school Community work together to help you graduate. And I remember your graduation after the ceremony. I remember you sitting there with your diploma. Just looking at it going I never thought I'd see this day and that was a really proud moment because you did it.

06:44 You got that diploma.

06:47 Yeah, that was a really cool experience. Yeah, cuz it was like my whole life like a

06:55 You know, seeing a lot of kids in there no parents there and you kind of be like that one kid that just didn't have anybody like there to tell you did a good job or

07:08 You know, they're just to congratulate you or when you play football. You know, your dad's not up there like you screaming at the top of his lungs and you know, he's there, you know, but all my graduation day like I see my dad like I see my mom and see my brother's, you know, I could tell that you know, where they were in the stand and my dad had this huge hat on like he was up there at the top. He was jumping

07:32 And you know, I just looked up at him and he was just like, you know, I waited my whole life for like that one day, you know to have you know, my family, you know up there and you don't hear my name cheer and you know, someone like being proud of me, you know for something that I did and you know, they were just over there like the whole step of the way and that's why I do, you know, people will say that like, you know blood makes you family and I don't believe in that all you know loyalty makes you family.

08:07 And you know when you have people that are loyal to you and want to see you succeed no matter what that makes you family.

08:16 We have a big family we have.

08:22 6 Sons

08:25 And well, I got to count shouter to Seven Suns so all boys.

08:35 Yes.

08:38 Well, they're not all that homemade baby and we have chowder to we've given a friend of a v a home for the last year-and-a-half as well. And so it just looks like for Mother's Day. It's it's wonderful. They're all so different we had.

08:58 Sick note five of the seven cuz once in New York and other ones in Salt Lake City and they ever went to Springs food everyone pitches and they will laugh with a Razz each other. You really can't tell whose blood and who's not who's step this Foster that it's just that they're all brothers and the support and love is their loyalty makes you family love makes you a family.

09:27 So and Mike piggybacking on what Amy said earlier.

09:33 That's what we would love to have more people open their hearts and their homes to older children because there are thousands upon thousands of them out there. I remember when we went to the house where you were staying.

09:47 When we picked you up there was I think four or five other boys there and I was just thinking to myself wish I could take all of them because they all all they want is a home. They just want a forever home.

10:02 And if people can do that and offer that.

10:05 I wish everybody could do it.

10:13 Turn your adolescence might my dad was in the military. He travelled a lot. So it was mostly my mom and my sister.

10:23 And it was all girls all girls fighting over the bathroom and I never dreamed I would be the mother of boys, but I actually I mean after the first one, I actually I love being a mother of boys. I don't have all of those all the drama.

10:43 I was one of those kids that I was high achiever ballet dancer.

10:52 I was the kind of kid in high school that everybody came to if there was an issue or problem. I was on drill team.

11:00 But I never grew up in Tacoma Washington. I never felt that that was what my future was going to hold. I knew I was going to go beyond that and

11:13 Try and really make a difference in the world.

11:16 And so that's what I tried to do.

11:19 Game teacher

11:21 And obviously mother and we love to travel I try to instill in the boys that experiences are the strong are the important thing in this world giving back. Is he important thing material things can be nice, but it's just stuff at the end of the day and it's really it's yourself. Is your gated greatest gift.

11:49 Also remember about a v i guess cuz we try and sit down and have family meals and I remember that that was important important thing to you for that. We actually sat down and had a meal together dinner and we all everyone talk and everyone was important and

12:07 Of course the holidays

12:10 It was a

12:12 No at first dinners are weird cuz I was never used to like sitting down and actually like sitting down to table and everybody actually talking about their days and like how they went and things like that, but I was like got my plate and I'll go to my room cuz that's what I was used to and I was like the norm

12:33 But now I actually like enjoy like sitting down at the table and you know telling my parents I got my day went in like seeing how their days went and my brothers and

12:45 You know things like that. I think it's important because you know just me growing up and not really having that. You know, I will my kids are you know, and I have kids I want to be able to do that for my kids cuz you know, I want to know what they're how their day went, you know, or what they were doing. Do you know or you know what I can do to make their day go a little bit smoother so, you know, and I think that's what my parents. Do. You know my dad and my mom are like pretty much my counselors. I'm even want to have problems or anything like my mom and my dad like, you know, they pretty much saw them, you know, they help me solve them were Amy, you know and solving my problems, you know, things like that, you know when you know, they're still have it so you don't have to break, you know, even money-wise and you know, things like that, you know, Mom, you know, she teaches me because you never growing up and growing up around a certain environment. Yeah certain things and steel in you that aren't necessarily like the

13:45 Best way of financially to go about things and you know, my parents are really, you know, taught me how to you know, go about certain situations and they let me learn on my own. Do you know sometimes I mess up and you don't mind Mom and Dad help me get out of it and you know, or do you know what they just tell me like, you know, you should have did this instead of that and they let me learn in the you know that, you know. Do you know that that wasn't the best way to go about it?

14:14 But I think you know just having to do I'm a mom and a dad and having both roles and you know in one house, you know, sometimes when you can't talk to your mom you got your dad and can talk to your dad. You got your mom and you know when you need to talk to both of them. Both of them.

14:31 Yeah, I want you know, I want by my household to look like that. Do you know what I have a wife and I don't want to you know split you don't want my kids to witness that because I think every child deserves, you know that aspect of life is to have both parents in one household thing to know that you know, you got it you got a family has your back at all times and you know, there's a lot of kids out there that need that you know that I need to experience, you know, how Hina a family that has their back at all times and

15:07 Is there you know that help with their problems or helping with things that they're going to?

15:12 Because you know I know

15:15 I mean families, you know, you you have problems like you argue, you know, you got this agreement, but you know that even when I have to scream it to my parents, it's not like they last for days everybody you get high and then my mom always had this thing like, you know, you could you got to talk about it. You know, that wasn't when I first came I was and you said that like I just was like, you know the arguing everybody's kind of goes our separate ways with my mom is kind of like instilled in me like no you don't give up friendships because you have a disagreement or you don't give up relationships because you don't see eye-to-eye, you know, the area. You can you have to respect that. The other person sees sees it differently and do you know you guys just kind of me in the middle and you just have to understand that both of you see something differently and you just agree to disagree.

16:09 But that doesn't mean you throw away a friendship off of disagreement or anything like that. So I really learned how to talk about my feelings, you know being with my mom my dad because I was never used to that. I just going to be in a group homes and things like that. You kind of have to fend for yourself. If you only have time to talk about your feelings or you know, anything like that and

16:35 You know in group homes are coming to realize that I like a lot of kids in them. Just where all the PIN for the same thing. We just don't have the time to say I will miss you say not a time to weakest people would say, you know, what kind of show you your feelings. Are you no cry about it you no one's in there crying or anything like that. So

16:59 I had to kind of be a different a different person and then you know my mom, you know, she just kind of helped me kind of get out of that just be no talk about how I feel about my feelings of time to talk about it too much. She gets me in trouble comes to friendships and things like that, but I just learned like the there really you are you know what people and that's a rarity these days as you know,

17:28 I guess a lot of people.

17:30 A lot of people don't really see the truth 24/7

17:35 Do you know I try my best to you and sometimes you know, I'm learning that sometimes some things just don't need to be sad. But you know one thing that most. Means you've always tell the truth then no one can you know really say that you're never honest with him?

17:51 So I try to be honest with you everybody as much as I can.

17:56 Panda

18:01 You know a v i don't know if you know when I first started my foray into the whole Foster system the interest that I got I was watching Wednesday's child is never watched it and there was a young man on their Kyle and he wanted to be an actor he was 16 and when I think he was 16 and his mom had passed away and he just wanted a forever home and five nights. That's when I thought you know, what we can do that we can our family can do that. We have enough love and we know we want to give him like I love her up forever home and I actually went into the classes today. I told the social worker. You need to look up Kyle. We need to look up Kyle and since it took so long about a year-and-a-half before you go through the classes in the home visit and all and all that and

18:56 The day we got our license are social worker called up where Kyle was a beaut the home. He was supposed to be he ran away like the week before and I'd and I the one thing and

19:09 I know you were meant to be with us, but I wish Kyle could know that he inspired me to become a foster mom and to give someone a home and I just wish he would know that someone didn't want him and that he had value and stuff and I guess every child like you were just saying everyone that's all they are all of them want and I just wish we could get that message to Kyle and tell them all but there's somebody out there, but it's going to care about you and love you and offer you a forever home.

19:43 Or at least forever support, it could be a mentor there and there's a lot of what routes to do the Big Brothers Big Sisters. Just a friend. There are so many different routes. You can go to help all the children that just need that extra the love.

20:03 Baby, I miss you.

20:07 How do you see yourself now compared to say when you were 14 years old 15 years old. What are the changes that you're seeing yourself?

20:19 Mal's 14

20:24 When I was 14, I would have to say I was probably somewhere in the Palmdale or Lancaster.

20:32 And

20:35 I was pretty pretty angry when I was 14. I was mad because I was I felt like, you know.

20:44 I always felt like second. I always feel like everybody always took everything from me, you know a guy.

20:52 You know, I was mad at my mom.

20:55 Because he like two things happen and didn't mean to happen like that and

21:02 Do you know I was just I was I was pretty mad at the world. Do you know it always, you know, if people bumped into me I just buy them, you know if I didn't like somebody or any like my teachers are anything like that. I really care to do my work or anything.

21:19 And I didn't know what I wanted to do. You know, I didn't think there was like anything left and

21:29 His name was mr. E he ran like a black student union at her school and high school and

21:38 He decide me down one day.

21:41 He just told me.

21:44 He was funny cuz he was like you don't do any of the homework, but when the test come up you always a saw the test, but you don't do any homework and he's like, you know, you fell in my class, but I don't know why.

21:56 And he just kind of gave me like

22:00 He's kind of motivated me to do better and

22:07 You know what? I do know just kind of start doing work and end up facing his class.

22:15 And you know from then on I said, he showed me a guy's name is Les Brown and he's a motivational speaker motivator and Les Brown was adopted when he has a twin brother and his mom gave him and his twin brother up when they were when they were babies. And so I've always listened to his story and he's a multi-millionaire now, but it just it kind of gave me, you know, hope that I can like get there one day too. And so I just started I just started motivating myself and I right now I sit down in my room and write down goals. I wanted things I wanted to do.

23:00 And I would say from Friends, 14 to the time 21 now I could say that my mindset is completely shifted from when I was 14 and I don't blame the world. I don't know the world doesn't owe me anything.

23:18 This way there's kids way and way worse situations than I was in even if my situation was bad, you know, I just kids out there that has it ten times worse than me. And you know, I just right now I listen to a lot of most motivational videos when I get up in the morning and I read a lot of books.

23:43 You know, I continue to self educate myself.

23:49 Yeah, I really want to be.

23:51 One of the most well-known entrepreneurs of my generation right now and study stocks for Foreign Exchange Market right now.

24:02 One of my goals is about timing 25 is to hit my first million dollars into I want to build a multiple homes on different Beach fronts and a place foster kids in them that just don't, you know have a place to go or just been kicked out multiple times and put them all in and have them all live in one house in

24:29 Teach them, you know how to be successful and you know make them read success on success and then I'll have him to take them all out to dinner have him, you know eat together and do things together as a unit, you know, and

24:49 And just show them that you know, there's people out there that care about them and they and they can make it and just put them in a nice area have him go to school in the best schools and

24:59 Everybody wrong cuz that's what I've done. You know, my whole life is, you know, I approve of proving people wrong time and time again, cuz you know, you don't have a teacher to tell me I was going to be anything or may not know people give up on me.

25:17 And you don't want to see me succeed. All right, tell me I'm not going to succeed and do you know I noticed like when you actually have a family to do that and tell you that you can be something and can succeed. You can eat. It really helps your mind and need to.

25:38 Shift your mind into a different playing field cuz you start to believe in yourself. And that's one thing that I've learned is a

25:46 Everybody else can believe in you and in want it, you know as bad for you as his advice as I possibly can but at the end the day you have to believe in yourself first, you have to believe it before you before anybody else can believe anything like you have to believe it and yourself, you know, I'm headed out sometimes like I don't do no do the the best things in everybody's eyes are you know of I take risks and sometimes I don't always pan out, but do you know that's why they're risky, but

26:21 You know, I just extremely believe that you know, eventually, you know, I don't know how I'm going to get there. But I have faith that like, you know one day when I'm 25, you know, you know, I can buy my mom a Bentley old school. Why not a new one cracked she doesn't like those. I don't like the new ones.

26:40 You know, I'm by my dad. I was cool car.

26:45 Eunos in my older brother on that

26:49 Awaiting vacation when he gets when he decides to get married or something, you know, I want to travel the world a lot of kids that come out of foster care, you know, I've seen since I'm become homeless, you know, it seems some you do not have anywhere to go or show back up after all foster homes and only can stay a few nights, you know, and I feel like you know when you're in foster care you do you have a certain mindset.

27:18 As when you turn it a certain age you can get kicked out.

27:21 And it's totally true, you know when user need to get kicked out and

27:28 For me, it's like

27:30 You're so many families out there that don't have kids or want kids or do anything like that and I'm you know, I think that everybody should have the opportunity, you know to take someone in so, you know, they can have a family and you know, and you know, what kid is not out there, you know homeless or a look in there searching for a family cuz I can just change a whole person. You know, you have a family you can you going to call your own be with and

27:57 You know, that's those are my goals and I want to help kids like feel like they want it. I want to make sure that you know, I'm teaching them how to be successful even though I have to get there myself, you know, and I know right now it's my mission, you know get there myself and be able to give back that's my way of wanting to get back.

28:17 You know, ewe, you are successful. It's one of the things that I really really admire about you that I've always admired about you is that some of the horrific things that have happened in your life you never ever use that as an excuse or Focus you just use that as a jumping board to make things better.

28:37 And that that's not a real common trait in a lot of people.

28:42 Sound that is something that I really respect about you.

28:47 That

28:49 You're willing to yep. It happened. But we've got a future. Let's move on.

28:55 And something you didn't mention he has a beautiful you have a beautiful singing voice and he got the opportunity to sing in Carnegie Hall in New York. Last April is time last year. So we were all so proud of you for that for you to be able to get that opportunity. They're going to college.

29:15 Now it's going to experience, you know.

29:18 We sing a lot of songs from a

29:24 I want I don't want to miss pronounce it and so it lasts.

29:30 Les Emma Roberts something like that Les Miserables very all the words, but it was really you know, that was one of the that was one time.

29:48 Never mind. I was the first time I ever went that far. Just flying just for the experience.

29:57 The first time I ever went to New York, you know, I always dreamed about going to New York and

30:06 It was totally different and you know, I was glad that my mom. Do you know what my dad helped me go? And that's the first time I really realized like my mom told me about experiences and different things and I probably I left my room my hotel room like at 3 in the morning and no one was out on the

30:26 I forget at Times Square. No one was out on Time Square and it was just me and I end up standing on the the red steps and I was watching the lights and stuff and I was just thinking to myself like wow, like a couple years ago. I would have never thought I'd ever see New York or you know sing at a prestigious Hall, you know, I know.

30:47 It was just

30:50 That was a time where I knew like I could do anything. You know, I could do anything. I put my mind to you know, I can be anything as long as I believe it.

30:59 You know, I know.

31:01 That's what I honestly believe is that you know, if you can still in it and it's just a child, you know that they can be anything that they want to be and never take their imagination away, you know.

31:16 You can have a real.

31:20 A real life

31:23 The real Prodigy on your hands, you know just having just been able to instill that in someone. That's one thing. I want to give to my kids and my mom taught me, you know, mom never she guides me, you know, she never sometimes, you know, you know, you can your feelings and you feel like people are don't already listening to you, but my mom guides me and different ways, you know, she would tell me different ways to reach my goals.

31:48 And I things like that, but she never kills my imagination. Do you know if she never tells me I can't do it even at 21, you know unit are all the times that Mom Be Millionaire. Do you know she's like, I know he has his ways of going about, you know, getting there and

32:06 You know, you can and you can achieve anything you could be a top salesman top and vinegar.

32:14 Top real estate agent. Do you know. Belly dancers salsa dancer, you know anything you want to be you can achieve it. You just got to put your mind to it and put into work and you know, when everybody else is sleeping if you still up, you know, you're going to eventually get there, you know, cuz I strongly believe in that, you know, sometimes my TV too loud and my mom or dad come in the room and then tell me turn it down cuz I'm up at CU no.3 4 in the morning, you know studying. Do you know sometimes and you know, sometimes that's what it takes, you know to get to where you want to be and that's why I say you have to believe in yourself. Do you know if you believe in yourself? Eventually, everybody else is going to finally believe in a Newfie don't you know once you get there?

33:01 And you have to put the work in.

33:06 Got to put the work in.

33:20 What is the first memory you have?

33:24 Is there something you can remember?

33:27 For when I was born.

33:36 The earliest and I can probably remember is

33:41 I was in my front yard.

33:44 And I just got like this little

33:47 Rebel Jeep

33:51 And I was just driving it and

33:54 How's it going? The cars I wanted when I was a kid is a cheap and you know, just rolling around and I can see my brother riding his bike.

34:05 And I can hear my mom in the house talking and my grandma pull up cuz it was church.

34:12 And that's probably the fight as I can remember.

34:18 When I was born

34:21 Those birth parents are foster parents birth parents.

34:29 We're still close to his grandmother. We keep in touch with his grandmother.

34:35 She's my mama Olivia now.

34:38 And I'm daughter Tyra.

34:43 Yeah, try to

34:46 You know I try to work on myself a lot, you know, because sometimes you can catch yourself falling into the old habits or anything like that in.

35:00 Evolving, you know constantly reach New Heights in

35:06 You know, I always tell you I was told myself like I told my mom all the time when I move out, you know, I don't go backwards. I'm not moving. You know, we live in Redondo Beach like 5 minutes away from the beach driving, you know, and that was a totally different experience for me too. It's being that close to the beach in the water.

35:28 And you don't tell Mommy that I'm moving sideways or forward.

35:33 But I do have to say I had to speak to the Redondo Beach Police Department about harassing a V and his friends for Sometimes. They come up to him. There was an incident and they said well you're in my hood now that's what the police said to him and they didn't do anything to the white kids that were there, but they made a V and his friends sit on the curb and everything. So I marched myself down to the police department and Panda to talk to the police officers and tell him and ask him to please back off.

36:05 How to say respect in that I haven't done anything since I'm pulled you over.

36:17 And I told him but I told him to his face as I watched like my mom's going to be a p.

36:22 And he just looked at me and he was laughing I said, okay, they don't believe that he's in our family. We showed them with all due respect.

36:51 That's be my mom my dad.

36:53 My brothers

36:57 Phoenix Molitor Brothers, Phoenix

37:04 My best friend Rob all my all my best friend's Rob chowder Eros Joshua will

37:16 Be very good choices in friends. I like your friends are best friends that I've had for years Cyrus a touchdown on Maurice.

37:28 I'll Camille and his girlfriend Danielle.

37:34 You know, I think that

37:38 You know, none of them are my but you know, and that is but to me they always be my family, you know, I know. You know same thing for my brother like

37:49 We got kicked out of Game Stop cuz my brother got so pissed he makes the guy GameStop used by me game for my birthday. I just turned 18 and the guy told my brother that I wasn't his brother and my brother asked the maddest I've ever seen my brother get at anyone in in front of me at least he was pissed like yeah, he was yelling at the guy.

38:18 And that was like that was a special time of my life cuz I was you I'd never had someone do that. I almost have to do it for myself and you don't have my brother like be there and do that for me was a big moment in my life.

38:35 Cuz really taught me, you know, it doesn't matter, you know, if your bladder or not, you know, that's what my brothers always told me that you know, you like it doesn't matter. You know, you've always been my brother. Do you know he's like no matter if I didn't know you were not say, you know, you were always my brother cuz you're here.

38:55 Anda

38:57 I've always loved my brother that always respected him, you know for that.

39:03 And sometimes I think you just doesn't know like how important that was to me or how much I care about him.

39:11 Because I would take a bullet for my brother any day of the week.

39:15 Phoenix with the only one still at home when you first came to us song.

39:20 Nice words for each other for things

39:25 I'm glad you're in our family AV me too.