Life is a lot harder when you have to grow up without loving and supportive caregivers. Lacking a stable home environment and financial resources, these people navigated the foster care system to the best of their abilities.
They share their foster care stories with us below.
1. I was in foster care, but was never adopted. I was taken away from my biological family at a young age, and from then on I only met them by appointment on a weekly basis for about an hour under supervision. I went from home to home being told directly that "you are only here because you make us money" and "if you were my real son, you'd be treated differently." When I would misbehave, my foster parents would threaten to "call the agency" and return me like some sort of defective product.
During the summer time, I was sent to camp so they can "get a break from me" and spend alone time with their biological children. It took a mental toll on me and I lived in constant fear. The people I was surrounded with in my foster homes made be believe that anybody that interacted with me wanted to use me and that led me to withdraw from everybody and isolate myself to be on the safe side. I really only felt at "home" when I was in school.
Things are better now, I am working on my PhD and I'm trying my very best to build healthy relationships with people, but it is extremely hard to open up when I've been hurt so much. When I see stray cats on the street that don't trust me to feed them, I feel I have a deeper understanding of why they act the way they do. My walk of life has taught me that all things are transient, but the best feeling that I've ever felt is love. If you have any children, give them a big hug and tell them you love them, it means more than you would ever know.
2. I was in foster care with relatives after my mother died but was never in the system per se. They kicked me out at 18 but I was eligible for a lot of benefits due to being a ward of the state in my teen years. My aunt and uncle never officially adopted me.
I struggled through college but I did end up graduating and have a solid job, a home and I'm getting married in less than 3 months.
3. Both my parents committed suicide, My mother when I was 5, which put me in foster care, and my father later in life, when I was already a big part of the system.
My sister and I bounced around alot, my sister a lot more than I did - I ended up at 13 different homes, (Some I would go back to) she ended up in a lot more. We were both very difficult and would test the foster families after the honeymoon period ended - and eventually it wouldn't work out and we would move on - the longest I stayed in one place was 3 years.
After some physical and sexual abuse at a family, and a general disregard for my future - I was caught shop lifting and given community service. Sent to a charity, and became a pretty big part of their fundraising (It was a super marketable story really) - got sexually abused by the founder - but carried on with life.
Eventually got married, and had 2 kids - it didn't work out (after 10 years) - but I'm still doing my hobby from when I left school and work as a Systems Administrator.
Life isn't bad - A lot of things I wish I did better - I struggle with a bit of baggage. - I'm not sure how much of that is perceived and how much is real, but I'm doing much better than my sister - and I'm a relatively functional member of society. Which is much better than I would have been.
Continue reading on the next page!