Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Guest Post: What its like to be a Foster Child

As a former foster child I can remember that day when we we’re taken out of our house and the foster care worker telling my brother’s and I we wouldn’t be going back home that day. The first thought in my mind was where I would be going. I was 15 at the time and had heard horror stories about living in a foster home. I was worried.

That day we were taken to our first home was really awkward. No matter how much someone opens their home to you the awkwardness is still there. It’s coming into another person’s space. We were going to a new home where we didn’t know how they lived or how they did things. Even though all this crazy stuff was going on our temporary foster mom tried to keep things calm and try to keep things as “normal” as possible. My brothers were younger so they had a lot of questions which she was really patient with and answered the best she could. I also like how they made us feel part of the family. They had other kids which seemed fine with us staying there and seemed to enjoy our company, but I always wondered what they thought of taking some of their attention. I was scared but I tried not to be “needy”. Even though I was a kid they never met before she still treated my age and with trust. My own parents wouldn’t give me respect, but they gave me a chance. They made sure to let us know that what was going on wasn’t our fault and they were going to make sure that we would stay   As a former foster child I can remember that day when we we’re taken out of our house and the foster care worker telling my brother’s and I we wouldn’t be going back home that day. The first thought in my mind was where I would be going. I was 15 at the time and had heard horror stories about living in a foster home. I was worried.

That day we were taken to our first home was really awkward. No matter how much someone opens their home to you the awkwardness is still there. It’s coming into another person’s space. We were going to a new home where we didn’t know how they lived or how they did things. Even though all this crazy stuff was going on our temporary foster mom tried to keep things calm and try to keep things as “normal” as possible. My brothers were younger so they had a lot of questions which she was really patient with and answered the best she could. I also like how they made us feel part of the family. They had other kids which seemed fine with us staying there and seemed to enjoy our company, but I always wondered what they thought of taking some of their attention. I was scared but I tried not to be “needy”. Even though I was a kid they never met before she still treated my age and with trust. My own parents wouldn’t give me respect, but they gave me a chance. They made sure to let us know that what was going on wasn’t our fault and they were going to make sure that we would stay ok through whatever process we had to go to. The time came when we had to move to a new home. They kept their promise and made sure we made it safely to our new home. They even checked in on us every now in again with a letter or phone call and I received a congrats letter for my graduation. I will always remember them for how they treated us; I wish we didn’t have to be moved in such a short time.

I really felt uninformed about the whole process. I thought we would be put with family and just foster care for a short about of time. It always seemed that it was a possibility, but that day moved further and further and never came. Our next home was a group home called Coyote Hill Christian Children’s Home. They had the facilities to take on many children but keep things still in family setting by having different houses with home parents. These foster parents were always being trained and were awesome to live with during such a rough time. Even those times we acted out they never took it personal and always let us know they cared. The big thing was they always let us know how many people care about us. They also did a good job of teach us to do things on our own. We learned to do our own laundry and were assigned chores to give us some responsibility. They did also correct us when need be. They were always their for us when we needed to talk, but also taught us that just because your in foster care it isn’t the end of the world. They reminded us we were in control of our future and always supportive. God has a plan for us all we just have to meet him half way.

As a foster parent please don’t take everything personal. Sometimes things are just so confusing and it’s hard to know how to let it out. Most foster kids just want to me in a “normal” family life and are cared for. Try to make sure you keep kids in the loop. I always hated feeling like something was going on in my case and I weren’t being told. I understand not everything can be shared but being left in the dark is scary. Do make sure and let us know what there is to look forward to. Being in foster care doesn’t sentence you to anything. You may not have had control of how the story started but you can write the ending.

**Mike came into foster care at 15, spent another several years in the foster system until he aged out and his brothers got adopted. He is now married and blogging on http://www.imafoster.com in the hopes that his stories can help those going through or who have been through similar situations.

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It'll be a pleasure hearing your thoughts. Alisa