Learning About Foster Care

5 things kids in foster care hate to hear

“What are you in foster care for?”

I’m not a very open person with people I don’t know anyway but I think this is a hard question for any kid. Most kids aren’t put in foster care because they messed up, it’s their parents fault. How do you answer this question; “My parent’s beat me”, ” My parents care more about drugs then me”,  ”My parents died”, “The state took me”, or maybe even “I don’t know”. Any of those responses doesn’t sound good and not really something I want to talk about. It’s one of those things that I sits in the back of your mind and you know that’s there, you just don’t want to bring it to the front and face it. This is something that hasn’t changed even as I’ve become an adult.  It is what it is and though I do talk about it, I do it when I want to.There is no happy story to tell behind a child being placed in foster care. Often times it’s sad, embarrassing and causes anger. Sometimes its best to just not ask why.

“We have to check with your caseworker.”

When I was in foster care I used to hear this ALL the time. No fault to my foster parents but that’s just the way things were. It was a reminder that I wasn’t normal, that these people aren’t really my parents and that I’m owned by the system. Things have changed a little since I’ve been in care but some common questions that would get this response would be: Can I go hangout at a friends house? Can I ride with my friend? When can I get my license? Whats going on with my case? Not only is it hard to hear that you have to wait to talk to someone else because they are the only ones with the answer, but it isn’t as easy as calling the caseworker up and getting the answer. I can remember waiting days or even weeks to get some answers. It wasn’t long before I hated hearing my foster parents say these words.

“It’s time for your visit.”, “Your visit time is over.” 

This one can be tough and go several ways. With me being 15, I didn’t want much to do with my parents after what they did to me and my brothers. We didn’t have a choice and had to go visit with them. At the visit it was my choice if I participated. I didn’t want to see them but felt obligated because they were my family and what would it look like to everyone if I acted that way towards my parents? Is it disrespectful to not listen to or participate with your parents if your in foster care? Even though I disliked my parents I still wanted them to like me. I still had that part of me that didn’t want the visit to end because they hadn’t yet said they would fix everything and or say sorry. My brothers were younger and would always ask about visits. They were excited to go even on the day it was our last visit and my parents were signing there rights away. They had no idea what was going on or how fake my parents were. Visits are always extremely tough no matter the situation. I seen my foster parents help many kids, including myself, work through kids “acting out” after visits. It’s hard for kids of any age or in any situation to deal with.

“It’s time to move.”

Luckily I didn’t have to hear this as many times as other kids, but I have spoken with many current and former foster kids that have been through many foster homes. By many I mean in the double digits. During the time I was in care it was hard for me moving the few times I did. I moved from a small town of 15,000 to a village of 285. It was a culture shock for me and with a graduating class of only 30 something people everyone knew that I was a foster kid. It was hard getting adjusted to a new place. I had moved so quickly in the beginning that when I woke up I had to think about were I was at. It’s hard when you get used to a places, especially when you find a safe place, and your told that your being move into an unknown house, with unknown people and have no idea what to expect. With each home you have a new set of rules, a new set of personalities, with a new set of people. My parents had dropped off some of our clothes in luggage but many kids are moved in with trash bags. When you get everything packed in your bag or luggage carrier and realize thats all you have it’s a reminder of the reality of the situation. When you hop in the car and head to the new home there’s that knot in you stomach and you go into survival mode all over again until, if you even can, get “comfortable”. Even when you leave a bad home you have to wonder… will the next one be worse?