The story below is shared anonymously with permission by a former foster youth.
When I was 9, I was removed from my alcoholic and neglectful Mom while I was in school. I was brought to a foster mother who took me in with open arms, temporarily. I remember all of the emotions I felt. I was terrified, scared, confused, and I didn’t know what the future held.
I was brought into care with nothing but the clothes on my back. The first phone call I had with my mother was painful. She cried on the phone begging me to tell her where I was as I sobbed back whispering that I wasn’t allowed to tell her. I didn’t know, at that time, I would never live with my mother again.
Throughout the years, I struggled while in care. I had my share of a few homes, some good and some bad. I grew older, always staying focused in school. I couldn’t help but have some anger deep inside, feeling overwhelmed with abandonment, wishing my mother would come back for me. I wouldn’t allow anyone to get close to me. I spent my time writing to my mother begging her to take me back. But that never came.
In my spare time, I focused on my schooling. I was always a good kid. I had my faults, but I was determined to break this cycle. After the age of 16, my mother’s rights were terminated, and two weeks after I turned 18, I was officially adopted by an amazing family. I have reconnected with my biological mother and now have the family I have always dreamed of.
I made it. I beat it. I made something of myself.
I graduated college, became a mother, and joined a police department where I have been proudly serving my community for the last 6 years. Today, I am a certified foster parent and have an amazing, 2 year old foster son whose adoption should be finalized this summer. He is my world.
I wanted to reach out to let every, single one of you know that you all are doing an amazing job. I personally understand the perspective of both the children who have been removed and the foster parents. But remember this, as you say goodbye to your children, you have made a long-lasting imprint on their lives.
20 years ago, my first foster mother took me to the store to buy me clothes. A little stuffed kitten caught my eye because it reminded me of the kitten I had left behind when I was removed. My foster mother bought it for me, hoping it would bring me a little comfort. Little did she know that this stuffed kitten remains in my room at the age of 29.
I only remained with her for very short time, but she made a lasting impression on my life. I could never thank her enough for that.
Continue all that you are doing and never give up. No matter how short or long your placements are, your love and effort will never go unnoticed.