Hi, I’m Caleb, and I am a TCK. I grew up in Singapore and China for nine years. I worked with Kaleidoscope for the first time this past summer. The work Kaleidoscope does is very important, because it gives TCKs a safe place to open their hearts up to each other and to learn how to transition back to the United States or to another country.
For me, growing up overseas was definitely a highlight of my life and always will be. My experience was also really hard at times. Growing up overseas, you have people come in and out of your life very quickly, and I often felt really lonely. When we moved back to the States for the last time, I felt like no one knew where I was coming from or really knew me. I think TCKs sometimes tend to have really personal conversations about life after only knowing each other for as little as an hour. With people who don’t share this background, it seems that there has to be a trust built up in order for those conversations to take place. I would try to get into a deep conversation early in the relationship, and it scared people away. I remember feeling like that for a while, and eventually it got to the point where I was having very dark thoughts. Several things saved me from that time, and I want to share two with you.
God. God was so faithful to me that looking back on it now, moving was probably one of the best things that could have happened to me. Without this part of my story in my life, I don’t think that I would have ever learned God's character. I believe that God reveals himself most prominently when we are in our darkest hours.
My friends and other people like me. One of my best friends told me something very powerful when she found out what I was going through. She said, "Put your hand over your heart. Do you feel that?" "Um... a heartbeat?" "No, try to feel beyond that." "Honestly, I don’t know." "That’s what is called purpose! Caleb, God put you here on this earth for a reason and a purpose, and that is to live for Him and to bring Him glory through your life." That struck me and tore down walls in my life. From then on, I started to change my outlook on life. A year later, my family went to a program similar to the one that Kaleidoscope runs, and they showed me that there are a bunch of people who have stories like mine. That gave me hope to continue forward.
Being a Kaleider has opened my eyes to others' stories, and I know if I can be there for people who desperately need it, then I'm not doing work that is in vain. People took the time to listen to my story, and I can say for certain that I wouldn’t be here if that weren't the case.
A note from Kaleidoscope: we are not licensed counselors, although we care a lot about you. If you need to talk to someone, we have access to an extensive network of resources and can put you in touch with someone. Please tell us if you need help!