“I ran away from my foster home three weeks prior to my 18th birthday. I had a foster caregiver who was one way in front of social workers and outsiders, and another behind closed doors. People didn’t take me seriously or listen to me when I spoke up about what she was really like. The worst experience in foster care is feeling alone, unloved, unwanted, unsupported, and treated as if you don't matter. I was never accepted and often isolated in every home and group home.
I woke up one day and thought ‘I can’t be the only former foster child dealing with the after effects of the system’. One Internet search led to another, and I realized I wasn’t alone.
To those currently in the system: remain strong, faithful, persevere and know you are not alone. Don't ever let anyone say you can't do anything because THEY ARE WRONG. You can do and be whatever you want to be. You can conquer anything or anyone that attempts to keep you down. The only thing that will limit or stop you is the limits you set for yourself.
I never thought I would have accomplished all I have today because I was taught that I wasn’t good enough. But it is important to realize there are so many resources out there for current/former foster children, including organizations dedicated to bringing us together so we can support, encourage, and inspire each other. You need to seize the resources. They are for you.
People don't know how being in foster care affects children and adulthood. I relied on journaling, writing poetry, and reading to escape the pain of being in foster care. But through the system, I also learned to be self-reliant, responsible, goal-oriented and resourceful. I am 28 years old now and I will be graduating with a B.A. degree in 3 weeks. I’m finally starting to see my worth and the importance of being able to build and maintain relationships. Getting married and building a family of my own has helped to heal the wounds of being rejected.
It has taken me 10 years to have the courage to share my story of being in the system from age 11 to 18. And so I want to be a voice for the voiceless. I am currently in the process of becoming a CASA advocate, and my goal is to help fight for Foster Care System Reform and bring awareness to the issues, seen and unseen, of what foster children experience.”