Photo courtesy of Deborah Pegues
Interview by Editors
Deborah Shirley Peques love for children involved having raised her own and the almost 100 foster kids she’s welcomed into her home throughout the years. The Oakland, CA. native, is the author of the book “A Mother’s Child: Taken By Many (No More Secrets)” which she originally wrote as a play and is based on true accounts. Like the time she was disabled and couldn’t walk as a result of a student hitting her in her back with a chair where she taught school. Deborah says it is her hope for people to hear her story with the opportunity for it to be eventually turned into a movie. Read more of the interview here↓
What led you to take in foster kids while raising your own children?
I am the mother of twins sons, Jermaine and Tremaine. Years ago when my children were in their teens I had a girlfriend of mine abandon her daughter and that’s what opened the doors for more kids to come into my home. And as more kids came I kept building onto my house until I couldn’t build out anymore. I just have that passion for kids. I love them! I love helping families and if it meant some of the kids I took in going back to their families one day, I was for that as well.
How did the experience of raising foster children inspire you to write the play and then the book?
I focused on one particular girl I had in my home who was very hyper and wanted to fit in and be friends with everyone. I mean she would go off (away) with anybody. I had grown so close to this young lady back then and am still close with her till this day, but “A Mother’s Child: Taken by Many” can apply to any situation; girls who run off with a boyfriend or children who are kidnapped.
One of the children in your home is a young autistic boy who you’ve taken in as your grandchild (he’s the biological son of one of your foster kids). What can you tell us about the experience of raising someone with special needs?
For me, it’s an opportunity to learn sign language as he’s learning sign language. We’re growing together. Most kids when they are two are talking but this particular child didn’t have any language skills. He does attend a school where he works with a speech therapist and is a really smart kid. He helped me a lot while I was disabled with my back injury and is a good reason why I keep going. I would love in the future to get him into a private school where he could have more of an opportunity to grow.
What is your number one reason for wanting to turn your book into a movie?
Awareness for all kids throughout their walk in life. There are so many kids taken where we don’t know where they are; I want kids to know to reach out and tell a trusted person their secrets.
Speaking of awareness have you had to take in someone who was a victim of sex trafficking?
Yes, I have. I actually made a CD for kids regarding what’s going on in the world today.
As a caregiver to many kids throughout the years, how do you take care of yourself and draw strength to continue doing what you do?
God. He is the one that gives me strength. Without Him, we can’t make it. I am a praying, God-fearing mother and I keep going. I don’t let anything keep me down. And for all who have tried to knock me down all I can say is, but God!”
What words would you give to the youth to let them know they can make it and survive the difficulties of life we necessarily didn’t deal with at their age?
My message to young people is if you are going through a situation do not keep it a secret. Tell someone so they can help you. I am one of those people who want to help if I have the opportunity to meet them.
To find out more of Deborah Pegues story helping and housing the youth connect with her at FOOTPRINTOFMANY@hotmail.com.
A Mother’s Child: Taken By Many (No More Secrets) is on Amazon
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