Happy 18th Birthday! Get your ass out of my house — you are aging out. Foster kids kicked out with nothing.

May 23, 2010 at 12:53 am 28 comments

The other day while I was sitting in the therapist’s office, I read a Q&A section where some lady wrote:

“I can’t believe foster kids are kicked out of their foster homes when they turn 18?  How can foster parents do that?  I almost don’t believe it happens.  Aren’t they like their own kids?”

I did not have an opportunity to read the response, because my therapist called me, but I figured I could write a much better response than any other person…so here goes my response:

Dear Non-Believer –

It happens.  It happens to many foster kids.  It happened to me.   After being in foster care for most of my childhood, the day I turned 18, they kicked me out.   My worker came and we sat at the kitchen table.  I had stuff already packed in a backpack.  That was it…one large backpack.  I had stolen a couple towels and a knife from my foster parents, because I knew I had no-where to go and  that I needed the knife for safety and the towels for drying off and keeping warm.  Otherwise, I had some clothes, some trinkets, $63, and a stuffed bear.


My worker had me sign some papers while sitting at my foster parent’s kitchen table and then handed me some papers.  I was really kind of spaced out.  My foster parents just stood there; one in the doorway to the hallway and one leaning against the counter by the kitchen sink.  Then the worker asked me where I would like to go?

Where the hell is an 18 year old with NO FAMILY and NO SUPPORT and NO EDUCATION supposed to go?   Where do you think?  …..,……. I looked at  my worker and said “I don’t know.”  I remember getting really scared as the impact of that question hit me…

My foster mother hugged me and my foster father shook my hand.  To this day, these actions amaze me.  Going through the motions as they knew I was going into chaos… WTF?

So, my worker dropped me off at a shelter.  Great planning eh?

.

Within one day, I was homeless, hungry, broke and alone. No one cared.  Not “the system” and not any foster parents.  Not one person. I managed to get a job and was fortunate that my boss let me crash on the couch.  That did not last for long. So, I slept in 24-hour laundry mats, on benches, on strange couches learning to trade things for a place to crash.

Over the next couple years, I spent my time homeless, on and off the streets in different towns and cities ~ living in tourist towns working during the day, partying at night and sleeping under the stars, or in a hotel or in a boarding room, or in a boarded up building or on a roof, or in the ramble, or in places I should not have been. I tried to sleep in some shelters which believe it or not are pretty dangerous places and they have crazy rules.  Like one shelter kicked everyone out at 7:00 AM and it was first come first serve at 7:00 PM to get back in.  If I was working the dinner shift, forget about getting in because all the beds would be given away by the time I got there.  Besides,  I hated them and never felt safe.  I would rather take my chances sleeping in nature with other kids then being in a shelter with all aged people.  (Would you feel safe sleeping in a place like that picture?)

Lots of foster kids that age-out wind up homeless.

.

Covenant House reports that 50% of adolescents aging out of foster care and juvenile justice systems will be homeless within six months because they are unprepared to live independently, have limited education and no social support.

.

.

How can foster parents do that you ask? —- Simple, we aren’t their kids.

In some cases we are nothing more than a good easy fuck, a punching bag, or a paycheck.  And the next batch is coming in when we are getting kicked out.

Now, I am not saying that ALL foster parents are like this; on the contrary, I get notes from people who sound like fabulous foster parents….and those foster parents are the ones that make sure that their foster kids get services, get their needs met, get educated, get to college, have a place to go, have a place to come “home to.”   And those foster parents are also usually the ones that adopt.

The kids that age-out are basically the kids no-one wants….the ones that are “too difficult,” “too hurt,” “too old,” “too damaged,” “too whatever…..”

No-one wants .


And when no-one wants you, it is very easy to kick you out.


You see “Non-Believer”–

No-one wanted me and I aged-out.    Between 20,000-30,000 kids age-out each year…


It happens.


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Hey Foster Parents…5 Simple Things That you NEED to Remember President Obama declared May “National Foster Care Month.” Did you know and do you CARE?

28 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kelsy Smith  |  May 23, 2010 at 10:37 am

    omg. what a response.

    i was adopted from foster care at 15 and thank god i dont have to face this. im sorry you and the thousands of other kids do.
    its wrong.

    don’t kill yourself LT. you are a voice that needs to be heard and someday someone will really want you. heal yourself and you will find that connection

    dont kill yourself LT. you are giving an insight that people dont have by just writing this blog.

    god. people dont realize

    Reply
  • 2. Lisa B  |  May 23, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Wow. Wow. Looney-your blog is awesome. Your words are frightening but real.

    Most parents don’t kick their kids out at 18. Recent studies show that kids need all kinds of support into the mid-upper 20s. Who really thinks foster kids are going to make it at 18 with nothing?

    Even the states with transitional programs are failing because the programs are lacking social support for the kids. You can’t send a young person out alone with no support. It doesn’t work.

    Reply
  • 3. pamela Wallen  |  October 14, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    I completely agree. and these kids so desperately need love and support through Gods Grace and understandings. How can we support people like me, who would open my home to help at that age? How can I afford it? These are questions I need answered.

    Reply
    • 4. maddi  |  June 5, 2011 at 2:02 am

      you would contact the nearest Child Protective Service office available to you. tell them you want to foster and they will have a meeting with you. lots of stuff will have to be done such as classes a background check and fingerprint clearance. you can choose to foster children or young adults, you get liscenced for an age group or you can get liscenced for infant to 22(22 is when cps can no longer help you even if you sign yourself back in to foster care on your 18th bday) there is plenty of financial support available to foster parents. as a foster kid myself, i would ask you to REALLY REALLY think about it. if youre a good person and you are aware that you might end up with damaged goods, then please do become a foster parent. alot of us have had really messed up lives and we are broken. some of us dont know how to function in a family. please have time and patience. encourage. dont point out everything thats wrong. its okay to ground us or take things away when we arent behaving the way we should. but if you decide to foster teenagers, be aware of how troubled we are. were either just thrown in, or have been going through this our whole life. either way we are REALLY scared to go to a new home. you dont know anybody and your guard is up. hopefully you will change someones life. if thats the case if you decide to do this, thank you. we need ALOT of love. at first its hard to accept it. but if its unconditional, we will be forever grateful<3

      Reply
    • 5. Sarah Redecker Sarich  |  August 25, 2013 at 8:00 pm

      You afford it with the stipend the state gives you — sort of. Our first placement, we immediately had to spend $3000 because she came with so little. We thought we had stocked the room enough, but we weren’t counting on somebody coming with only two ratty outfits and a comforter. There was no way we were letting her attend school without decent clothes and makeup or school supplies.

      No, we shouldn’t be doing this just for the money. However, the money allows us to do a decent job if we aren’t upper middle class.

      Reply
  • 6. Michaela  |  December 27, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Hi, I know there’s alot of truth in what ur saying, however I was kicked out of care at 16 and after many different hostels and living with my expartner who was physically and mentally abusing me. I’m now 22 with a beautiful little 2 year old who is my world and a decent 2 bedroom flat. Also studying social work and looking to become a foster carer in the next few years. I’m still very much alone with no family left, they’ve all either passed away or we’ve just lost touch for various reasons

    Reply
  • 7. Michaela  |  December 27, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Continuing from previous comment. I’m slowly rebuilding my life and trying to look at what I HAVE got rather than what I HAVEN’T. my whole life has been a struggle but i’m trying to stay positive. and use some of my terrible life experiences to help others. some people r just luckier than others i guess. i do feel really sad sometimes when i see my friends with their mums or spending time with their family. sometimes i think people who have been fortunate enough to have had an average life do not have much

    Reply
  • 8. Michaela  |  December 27, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Continuing from above. Do not have much understanding of how difficult life is when ur alone and even though u can build a life and make friends, there are still moments where u can feel an overwhelming feeling loneliness. Because the people that should be there or were at some point a permanent fixture in ur life r no longer there. But seriously anyone can change their lives and build something new, if they want it enough. I have alot of respect for people who have been in care but even more respect

    Reply
  • 9. Michaela  |  December 27, 2010 at 9:38 am

    For the people who live through it and still remain positive and make something of themselves :)

    Reply
  • 10. Christine Bentley  |  April 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I am working on a thesis for a human services class. My desire to take this class came from being a foster child myself in MA. My thesis assignment was to choose a human services population that is under served, with my personal experiences being very similar to this post, I chose Fostering Independence for Foster Children as my title and am focusing the paper on the perils that face over 25 thousand children each day, turning 18. I have learned many lessons the hard way, but that path lead me to where I am today. If it were not for the grace of God and having decent people in my life I certainly would not be where I am today….having a career, afforded the opportunity to return to school. I feel that everythign happens to us for a reason. We may never know what that reason is, but if what I experienced as a foster child can serve the greater good of future and current foster children…well then it was all worth the tears, fears, and strained courage it required to survive. christine.d.bentley@gmail.com

    Reply
  • 11. Ana Macedo  |  May 16, 2012 at 1:18 am

    hay! l am doing my final senior project and i wanted to know if could use some of what you said in my paper and presentation. i am so sorry that this happened to you. i am not a foster child but i want to be a foster parent and help children have a place to call home and help them have a better life. i just want to say sorry again and i hope everything has worked out for you.

    Reply
    • 12. LooneyTunes  |  May 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      Hi Ana,

      thanks for reading. feel free to use some of my writings in your paper and presentation. maybe it will help other students to learn about foster care and have different perspectives when they see homeless people or kids. the only thing i ask is that you supply the link to my blog in your references. also to be sure that my words are not use to condemn CPS, but are an attempt to bring about change. in other words, i am not anti-CPS.

      Let me know if you have any questions…

      Reply
  • 13. WLynn  |  November 20, 2012 at 3:26 am

    I really had the intention of adopting my daughter’s biological half sister. It appears she has not bonded with us. She has been here over a year and told her social worker she does not want to be adopted. She has recently contacted another half sister on Facebook and told her that she can adopt her. She has never known this other half sister, who is only 19. I feel that she is only using me for a cell phone and internet access and whatever else she can get out of me. She’s only nice when she has these things. When they are taken away, she is terrible to deal with. What can I do?

    Reply
    • 14. Sarah Redecker Sarich  |  August 25, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      I realize you have probably already dealt with this, but for anybody else in this situation, talk to your case worker. Tell him/her that it isn’t working out and that they should start looking for a new permanent placement immediately. I would not boot her out, though. Just be honest and tell the worker that she isn’t bonding with you and needs to be given a chance to find a home she can bond with. I would also specifically mention the home she has chosen. When you tell her depends on the person. Some you would want to tell right away, others not until they are about to move.

      Reply
    • 15. Alicia Ramirez  |  November 27, 2013 at 10:46 pm

      I don’t want to come of as rude but what else do you expect from this girl? She sounds like most typical teenage girls-even bio kids wish they lived somewhere else other than her parents. You make it sound like she’s a “taker” & not a “giver”. Still a typical teenage mentality. I’m also curious about this year time frame. If she hasn’t bonded by a year she has to leave?! Wow. Maybe you should try bonding with her on her terms and not yours.

      Reply
  • 16. YW  |  December 12, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Hey just thinking of you and browsing your blog
    hope you are ok LT hope you are getting a tree, if only a mini one?
    thinking of you
    sending hugs
    YW

    Reply
  • 17. theknightfive  |  December 26, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    LT-I came across your blog through Rage Against the Minivan’s blog. Your writing is beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time. My husband and I are in the process of getting certified to foster parent. And we are looking forward to giving whatever love and support we can to whoever God puts in our lives. But right now, YOU are on my heart. I want you to know that you are valued and loved and that God has a plan for your life. I also want to help. Do you have a safe place to live now? Do you have food and clothes? Please contact me on my blog so that we can help you. You are not alone, LT. You are not forgotten.

    Reply
  • 18. Cici Rose Archer  |  February 13, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    My name is Cierra Archer. I am 19, and have been in fostercare for over two years. I have a 30 days notice. I have faint memories of the homeless life from when I was younger, so close to no experience with homeless life.. I have No job, no job experience, and no money. I feel like just ending it right now. This foster family want my 15 year old sister, but not me. I know she was always the good one. Me, not so much. I have trouble admitting my faults, and taking responsibility. I have no one who will take me. Maybe one adult. Funny thing about the SS is, they have this funny thing with telling you where you can and cannot live. Im scared. Many people have little advice to offer. I hope that I can get a job… and make a deal with a roommate or something.
    Oh how I can relate to you. I am what they say, “too traumatized”. I blame myself. If I would have just done something with my life earlier, this wouldn’t be happening. However sense there is no time machine I guess ill have to deal with it. I’ll never do drugs, or smoke weed. I never drank as a teen or anything. Maybe a little rough around the edges with my additude sometimes. The more people take away, the meaner I get. I just don’t understand how we can come from messed up lives, to understand how they are actually supposed to work.. Thankfully I have a diploma. I dont see college happening for a while. I want it so badly. I am afraid. I havn’t stopped crying all day. I guess when these people said they wanted to adopt me, I thought they meant it. I came with too many problems though.
    No one has answers. Only apologetic words and encouraging words. If only those could pay the rent, or food, transportation. Then I’de be set for life.

    I don’t know you. However, I feel connected to your pain. I am sorry, that we have to share the same theme of experience.

    Reply
    • 19. Cici Rose Archer  |  February 13, 2013 at 5:23 pm

      I apologize in advance for my typos. Kinda speaking from the moment. By the way, I guess I have some amazing Social Workers at the moment. Because God only knows why we have more than 1 or 2 a year. I can do it hope. And get a bike.

      God I’m so scared. I am so afraid.

      Reply
    • 20. kam  |  March 5, 2013 at 1:22 am

      Dear Cici Rose,
      I feel such deep pain and concern for you. You must be so scared. I am foster mom who is single and has limited resources but am here if you would like to contact me. whether to just vent or if there is something I can do. Best of luck to you. Keep your head up. Never forget…God loves you and you will be blessed in heaven for all your pain and suffering you have endured on earth. Our time here is very limited. Our eternal life is what we must focus on.
      Kam
      mcmurtk@aol.com

      Reply
  • 21. kam  |  March 5, 2013 at 1:28 am

    LT,
    Thank you for your blog. I dont follow blogs normally but I am a foster mom and stumbled on yours. What great works you do. God bless you and your heart. I believe we sometimes have to suffer pain in order to bring awareness and/or love to others. you and I are on the same team. Keep up the God work:) Yes, you are doing Gods work.You will be blessed in Heaven for your life here on earth.
    Sincerely,
    Kam

    Reply
  • 22. jackie costelloe  |  April 14, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Hello, I am training as a social worker and doing my disertation on attachment theory for foster carers, may I use some of your writings to support my work. thank you so much for the blog, no amount of reading or lectures can make up for the lived experience

    Reply
  • 23. Laquinton DeShawn Wagner  |  July 23, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Ur amazing…. please keep giving people like you…and ME!… hope in life…..

    Reply
  • 24. Sarah Redecker Sarich  |  August 25, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    If our kids turn 18 before they graduate high school and they are still attending high school, they will have a place to live until graduation. At that point, if they aren’t in extended foster care (which my bio-daughter won’t be) and they want to continue living at home, they have one free month and then they have to start paying rent. It’s not a lot, but it is enough to help us and enough to encourage them to do what they need to do to get a place of their own. Otherwise, they have to find another place to live.

    Finding another place to live, though, does not mean that they can’t come home to bum food or to celebrate the holidays. It just means that we won’t tolerate them being a couch bum for the rest of their lives.

    Reply
  • 25. Lee  |  November 7, 2013 at 2:06 am

    Hi my name is Li (Full name: Li Hui Chang) and I am currently living in Oahu, Hawaii. I am 17 years old and have been living with guardians for 5 years now, ever since our mother passed away from Cancer (2008). My father left our family of 3 (now, 3 brothers including myself as the middle) so he is of no use. I have lived with a guardian on the island of Kauai, however, he had developed stage 3 Cancer. Me and my younger brother live on the island of Oahu with two guardians who really loved us. They took their time and energy just for us. Growing up, I wasn’t able to reciprocate that love because I was so dependent of myself that I didn’t need anyone’s love. So for two years, recently graduated, I have lived with them. However, my birthday is coming up and now they want me out of the house. For two years, I have been trying my hardest to love them for two years….now I feel abandoned. I can’t think, I can’t breathe, I’m upset and I shake all the time. They have been abusive towards me an towards one another; hitting me, choking me and telling me so much negative things like how I stopped them from having a child, why, because of me, he takes alcohol and medication? Why he feels like the marriage between his wife and him is breaking apart because of me….It’s a lot to take in but I have learned to shut up. Still, my birthday is fast approaching and I’m scared for dear life. I don’t know where to go. My birthday is in December 15, 2013 and it’s 38 days away. help me! Please! Should I join the military? Will they help me? Which homeless shelter should I stay in? I know why they are upset but why?!!!help me!

    Reply
    • 26. April Wolfe  |  May 8, 2014 at 11:33 am

      Oh my gosh people are so pathetic. Are you ok? I know this is too late and your birthday has passed…

      Reply
  • 27. April Wolfe  |  May 8, 2014 at 11:29 am

    It shouldn’t have mattered that you weren’t their kid. Nobody made them be foster parents. They chose this life. And if they have no compassion, they should’ve chosen something else. I want to be a foster parent. I have a long ways to go to be ready, but when I am, nobody will ever age out of my family. I would love to meet you.

    Reply
  • 28. JENNIFER KELLY  |  May 13, 2014 at 3:18 am

    My mother, sister and step-father threw me out in the streets of a big city at 18 as well. They left for another state and left me out in the streets with no money, no place to go, not even a blanket. I had a garbage bag to lug around with me with all my clothes. I slept on benches, hallways, under stairs. I starved and was raped and had to fend for myself in all the elements outside, including bitter cold winter and hot, steamy summers. I had gone in the hospital from being so sick with a 105 fever once. I was found passed out in an alley by someone and they took me to county hospital. My folks were in another state, but when I had the chance, would call them collect and begged them to send me out to live with them and my mom refused. She eventually didn’t except my collect calls anymore. I feel they left me for dead. Listen, they didn’t love me, I wasn’t a perfect kid, but I didn’t do drugs or had a police record. They just knew when I turned 18 that they could get rid of me . Eventually I tried to commit suicide and almost died but was taken to the hospital which saved me. When they found out through my suicide note with their contact information in my pocket that the hospital staff called them, they found out and sent me a plane ticket out there so I could stay with them, which I did and got a job and got my own place to live. It still haunts me to today how anyone could be so heartless to do this to their own child. Thongs were never good between us again till they died.

    Reply

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I know that means you can't take my writing without my permission. If you do, something can happen.
Plus, that is just a real shitty thing to do -- take someone's thoughts -- so don't do it!

I am happy if you want to use my writing to help those involved in the foster care system, but please, leave a comment asking if it is ok and letting me know.

Peace.

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