The Top 5 Stupid Questions that SUCK to Ask Someone Who Grew Up In Foster Care.

January 24, 2010 at 1:02 am 37 comments

Very rarely do I tell people I grew up in foster care.

It’s a stigma, a black mark of shame, and most people don’t understand anyway and therefore usually say something fucking stupid or hurtful.

However, even when you try to keep your life secret, at some point you no longer can.  People want to know where you graduated high school, where my parents live, why have I moved so much, etc, etc.

To most people these questions are not intrusive but  normal questions….however, when you grew up in foster care, it is hard to explain and easier to keep a secret.

No matter how hard you try, at some point, foster care comes up…it just does.

Most people look a bit stunned at first when you say something like “I grew up in foster care” or “I was a foster kid”….and then they ask one of the following  5 Questions that SUCK to Ask People Who Grew Up in Foster Care.

Again in no particular order, because all these questions SUCK…

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1)  So, what did YOU do to get in there?

Usually I look stunned when people ask this.  What on earth could a CHILD  possibly do to get taken away and have to be raised by the state government?  What? — Please tell me?  Are you fucking kidding me when you ask this?   The CHILD did nothing….the PARENTS/CARETAKERS did something wrong; very wrong.

When you ask me this, it makes me feel bad.  I already think and feel everyday that I am a bad person.  This question shows me that you believe this too.

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2) Why weren’t you adopted?

How am I supposed to know?  I was white, I was blond, I was little…but NO takers.  My guess:  “too old and too damaged.”  My parent’s rights were terminated very quickly for “the system”…. but no-one wanted me.

That is what is comes down to.  No-one wanted me.

When you ask this question, it reminds me of that.   I feel it everyday, that no-one ever wanted me; I don’t need that reinforced by you.

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3) a.  How many foster homes did you have?

After someone asks this question and I give the answer then usually comes “wow, that’s alot.”  How many is alot?   2, 10, 15 ,12 homes?  How do they know?   Listen, ONE is alot.  Children don’t belong in foster care, period.  Children belong in a family.

After that comes:

3) b.  “Were the homes good?”

Please define good?  a roof over my head?  food on the table?  not getting raped, but getting beaten daily?  I grew up in one of the poorest and most dangerous cities in the united states.  How good could it have been, when many foster parents simply took kids for the money?

What do you expect someone to really say to this question?  No-one will tell you the truth.  No-one will burden you with the pain…. and trust me, you don’t REALLY want to know.

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4)  “Do you see your parents now?”

Everytime someone asks me this, I am shocked and I cringe.  This is an incredibly personal question. Clearly people who grew up in foster care do not have “normal parents”…hello?  I usually become tongue-tied and filled with intense shame… because it’s not normal and people don’t understand.  Just by asking this question, it shows they don’t understand.

Do I tell the truth?  Do I spill what happened to me?  …. Of course not.  Not a single person could deal with the truth.  If I gave it, those people would never talk with me again… because they can’t at all relate to my life.

So, I have to gulp and shake my head and try to mumble a “no, I don’t.”   To which 50% of the time, I get “WHY NOT?”

Don’t ask this question(#4), it’s none of your business…

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5)  “It must have been fun living in all those different homes?”

This question makes absolutely no sense to me.  How could it be “fun” moving all the time?  How could it be “fun” sleeping in different beds, on different sheets, in different rooms?  How could it be “fun” living with different rules and different expectations?  How could it be “fun” never knowing where you are going to be living?  How could it be “fun” having to goto so many different schools?  How could it be “fun” not having any childhood friends because you are always moving?  etc…

Don’t you see?  There is nothing fun about growing up in foster care.

FUN is having a safe, permanent home where you know your own room and bed; where your friends live down the street and ring the doorbell to ride bikes;  where you kiss your first teen crush on the swing that you pushed your childhood friends;  where you come home and recognize the people because you have been with them all your life or a large part of your life; and where you can go anytime as you age because they are your family…That is “fun.”

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Next time you meet someone who grew up in foster care, remember this blog and don’t ask stupid, hurtful questions.  We don’t want to answer them.

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Foster Parents — Top 10 Things to Make a Foster Child’s First Day Easier

37 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rachel  |  January 24, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Thank you for sharing your point of view. I will personally take it to heart. I think people mean well when they ask, but don’t know which phrases are hurtful. Saying, “I know you mean well, but I’d rather not talk about it,” will protect both of you from hurt feelings. If they say,”It helps to talk.” tell them you DO talk to your close friends about it. If they keep pushing, they’re insensitive cretins. Unless they are part of a solution, the details of the problem are none of their beeswax. You have a real talent for writing! Im especially impressed that you used strong language effectively, not gratuitously. Very few writers can walk that tightrope. All my best to you.

    Reply
    • 2. douglas wood  |  November 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm

      You got that right i was raised in fourteen foster home and i to know what its like going from school to school. many times i have got in to fights in some of these schools. Being teased about my cloths i would be wearing,but it was pretty much all i had i would get teased because i was a foster child,and my feeling would get hurt,and that put the fight in me. I got to say i grew up a tuff i little shit. so now that i have grown up they all can kiss my ass

      Reply
  • 3. Lisa B.  |  January 24, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Holy shit. I get the same questions. I also get “At least someone took care of you, right?” and “It couldn’t have been that bad, you turned out ok? ” (really, like anyone knows what is going on in my life)

    People don’t know what to say because it is a difficult topic and most people have never met someone raised in foster care. right?

    Cool blog. Keep writing because you speak the truth.

    Reply
  • 4. Kelsy Smith  |  January 25, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    LOL. this is so true! i was adopted from foster care and am still a teenager and i get some of these questions too. mostly i tell people to shut up and mind their own business.

    sometimes people ask me what it is like having two families? which i don’t because i was adopted from foster care and don’t see my birthparents. but they always think i have two families.

    people also ask me if i am retarded? for some reason people think kids in foster care are retarded or are stupid.

    and the worst one..kids always ask me if I was an angel-tree kid? you know the christmas angel tree?

    …i hoped it would get better when i get older, guess not, huh?

    i like your blog. it is really personal but effective. bye.

    Reply
  • 5. Siobhan  |  February 25, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Ok – here is a question. My 13yo adopted daughter tells EVERYONE that she is/was a foster kid. I have tried to hint to her that perhaps that is personal information to be shared with close friends…..not that I want her to feel ashamed, but I want her to have a chance to make friends before giving information that provides too many people with the wrong impression (as you have previously mentioned, people often and ignorantly wonder what the CHILD did).

    So, why is she so talkative about this??

    Reply
    • 6. Sarah  |  August 28, 2011 at 6:58 pm

      Maybe she wants people to understand her. I am a foster child and sometimes things get complicated, or people ask me questions that I need to mention foster care to answer. Also, she may see it as a part of who she is, and wants people to know all of her before they decide to be her friend. I’ve known some people who are really nice to me until they find out I’m a foster kid, then judge. and it hurts to trust people, then lose that after they judge me when I’ve always had problems with trust. Maybe she gets sympathy from them. Maybe she isn’t getting the hint? If she isn’t complaining that people are judging her, then let her. Hope I helped. This is the perspective of a kid her age.

      Reply
  • 7. Milisa  |  September 21, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    I really hated the “Had to be better than where you came from right”
    Like having to choose between my dad raping me and my foster parent raping me was better?!? Or who I liked being pushed around more by? I never understood why the need to ask so many questions. In time though I have gotten use to them. Great blog!

    Reply
  • 8. Margaret  |  November 11, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    I liked this post, maybe there should be more awareness about this, either an advert on tv. etc. so people are educated @ understand not to delve into the past. I grew up in care, & i always tell people close to me, people presume i had a privaliged background in away i did in away i didnt, you will all understand where i am coming from. i lost my long term partner to death years ago & my later relationship he pressed & pressed & i didnt want to go into it & just wanted to concentrate on the future with him even though i told him i spent some time in care, i wanted to save him the pain of what i had been through & myself. & because he carried on & on it spoilt my relationship & my life for a while & i ended up self distructing & couldnt take anymore. We dont want to live in the past or go through it again. We are proud we are here & we want someone to respect our privacy, feelings & love us for who we are. I loved your post & totaly agree with it.

    When we lose someone or they die, no one goes on and on about all the gorgie details, so people that go on wanting to know this & that should really look at themselves.

    thanks for your post, & all above who grew up in care etc. im proud of you.

    Reply
  • […] of being normal that I had at least faked.  There goes me having a clean slate. I waited for the Top 5 Questions That Suck To Ask Someone Who Grew Up in Fostercare<click>.… to come.  I felt like crying, I had revealed “a dirty little […]

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  • 10. Jeff Katz  |  June 10, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Hi LT.

    I am stunned by the power of your blog. You have something very important to offer. Your words will make a positive difference in the lives of kids who are now in foster care

    I spent 10 years running an agency that recruits families to adopt kids from foster care and now lead an advocacy group called Listening to Parents. As dysfunctional as the system is in taking care of kids in foster care, it is even more dysfunctional in how it treats parents trying to adopt.

    I promise you. I swear to you: There are people along the way who heard about you, saw your picture, learned a bit about you background AND WANTED TO ADOPT YOU. There calls were not returned. They were from another state and that state discouraged parents from adopting across state lines. Your worker decided that the prospective parents weren’t good enough for you, or didn’t want to place you with a single parent, or a gay couple. Or your case got transferred to a new worker who needed time to get to know you before reading home studies.

    We have done a great deal of research- There are far more parents wanting to adopt kids than there are kids available. The reason kids wait is absolutely NOT because no one wanted them. It is because the adoption system has too many barriers. It is no more your fault that you were not adopted than that you were placed in foster care to begin with. Please know that.

    Reply
    • 11. Tania Taylor  |  February 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm

      Well said. My biggest frustration is inquiring on a child…and NEVER getting a response from the social worker. I want each and every kid I see on pretty much every web-site. However, I have learned that only the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Generally just submitting an inquiry is NOT enough to get the social worker’s attention. Follow up with a phone call to the web-site administrator requesting the name of the county the child is in, then call the county and directly submit your home study to the worker. Follow up with phone calls each week until somebody hears you. I have 2 adopted kids by this method. One of the kids took a year before the social worker would meet with us. My child spent that year believing nobody wanted her and fighting the system only to be dropped in a child psych ward and heavily medicated for stupid diagnosis. There was NOTHING wrong with her. We fought until we matched with her and she has now been with our family for 4 years…completely unmedicated. Yes, we deal with many typical ex-foster kid issues…but she is working hard at putting her past behind her and just being a typical teen age girl.

      Reply
      • 12. Dot  |  August 5, 2015 at 8:31 pm

        Find out if the child has a CASA or Guardian ad Litem assigned. They will help.

        Reply
  • 13. AJ  |  June 27, 2011 at 9:08 am

    My favorite is when I give a dose of real talk and the question asker gets uncomfortable.

    “Bio mom was on drugs and bio dad lost custody when he exposed himself to the judge.”

    I’m going to pray for you that you know what it feels to be wanted. You deserve that. Everyone does.

    Thanks for doing this blog.

    Reply
  • 14. Ella  |  September 30, 2011 at 3:38 am

    Hey LT, wanna ask something. Our income is low, we dont even plan to have a car. We want to registrate for foster or adopt though. We dont foster for money. We have calculated the food money we spend in a month and we only spend 250 a month( l cook, that’s why). Even with low income, we still have enough to buy food for a kid.What do you think if we just be transparent with the kid about the reimbursement money( open his own account, because afterall he need it someday, we are enough with our income). We may need the money for his insurance. Also, since we are not rich, l’m scared that they feel unfortunate in my house. How if they are accustomed of playing video games and l cant afford it? I will try my best to fulfill their needs, but l also feel helpless, too. I want the kid to have the saving, not spending it on things l should have bought them. What can l do to compensate things l cant buy for them? Thanks 🙂

    Reply
    • 15. MaryB  |  November 15, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      Although this is an older post I’d like to respond to it for anyone with question along the same lines: I grew up in a family of nine. My parents WANTED a large family, and always said so to us. WANTED, such a nice word for a child to hear. We didn’t have video games or costly toys – did they even have those things in my day? We had a garden and chore of pulling weeds. We had livestock for meat, eggs, and milk, and had chores helping to tend to them. We had purpose, we fit in our family for a cooperative reason, (not the same as being a child-servant). We had simple fun like going to the local state park for a swim or cook out and volley ball game. Or roller skating. We ate our home-cooked meals together, as a family, even though not all at one table. We talked, laughed during those times. It may be an issue to the state – mandatory this and required that to adopt or foster – but money, past legitimate needs – is not an issue to a child in need of love and security. So if you plan to foster, why not also to adopt? Help your child find and keep stability. Their stipend is for their present care – and to plan for their future – both. It isn’t rocket science, people. It’s about love – valuing another human being – one who could REALLY benefit from being loved, (not merely accepted into a home). Foster doesn’t work for the simple reason that you cannot remain detached from a child and convince them you care at the same time. Hello . . . they’re young, not stupid. They know you are NOT their forever home, so they can only assume it’s about money, because you are state required to NOT fall in love with them. And if you can’t WANT them forever, how can you truly WANT them at all? You’re like the school teacher who has a general caring for ALL children, but no lasting bond with any. Except that, it is worse when they do realize that you have exactly the bond they crave and need with your own, bio children. They want to be SPECIAL to you, not because they’ve come from neglect or abuse, and not because the sigma of “foster” has been placed on them. They need REAL, PERMANENT bonds, the same as all children do. How do we fix that?

      Reply
  • 16. douglas wood  |  November 17, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    just love your shirt. i was raised in many foster and have been asked many stupid questions about what it was like

    Reply
  • 17. MsTamiG  |  July 3, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    I have to be honest with you. I am a foster parent and I hear a lot of those very same questions about the kids in our home. It is amazing how many people think Foster parenting is a good way to make money. No t if you do it correctly. I am not claiming to be perfect, but rather our family attempts to do what is best for the kids in our care.
    I am incredibly heart sick for you to never have been adopted. I think, based on your age, it was not as easy as you think to adopt a child in the 90’s. I watched my aunt and uncle fight for years to adopt one of their kiddos. It was hard.We have had children removed from our home and sent to others because of the number of kids in our house, without our asking. We have seen kids live with us and be returned to Bio family only to be returned to foster care and NOT our home. I have fought for kids to be placed back with us and not been successful because of bureaucracy. I can only try to imagine how that would feel to these children. I think about ALL of the kids who have lived with us in the past, a lot. We work with the kids who have been asked to leave other homes due to hard behaviors. I am not saying it was the same for you, but rather, I am trying to give you something to consider, maybe you were wanted, but the state made it hard? Maybe? I hope that you find your place in this world and learn that you are WORTH IT, deserving of love, special, unique, loveable. I am a firm believer that God can and does use incredibly HORRIBLE life situations to teach and bring about Wonderful things. For a small example, without your past you would never have come to a place to write this blog, inspiring so many, giving hope, and perspective. Thank you for sharing your wounds with us. You are brave! You have really inspired me. Thank you.

    Reply
    • 18. tea  |  November 7, 2012 at 3:37 am

      you prob don’t make any money because you are a good one. not all are like you. after many placements, one “best” made money off my work. another “best” would tie me up, burn me, starve me, beat me, and give enemas for punishment. i have a daughter-in-law now who is a foster mom and gives her all. each child is like her own and it hurts her so much when they go, hurt her, or the family hurts the child. i admire her and would never like to put her in a group like it seems when we are complaining here. the complaints help get the pain out. i’m sure all of us know the difference between good, mediocre and bad. how will the system change, police itself more, if foster kids/alumni don’t stand up? by the way, thanks for giving your heart, time, attention and resources.

      Reply
  • 19. Julie  |  August 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    I also would like to foster/adopt in the future but I’m afraid I won’t have enough money to give them a really good home without the extra money from the system. In your opinion do you think that we shouldn’t adopt until we do make enough money to feel comfortable or do you think it will really matter that much difference as long as we are giving the child a safe place to live and at least enough for the essentials?

    Reply
    • 20. tea  |  November 7, 2012 at 3:32 am

      the essentials is LOVE. read the Bible to find out what LOVE really is and isn’t. read “the LOVE dare” and practice for awhile with your current spouse/family.

      Reply
  • 21. Jonas  |  September 29, 2012 at 2:58 am

    Foster care can be screwed up! Had a very disrupted early life, was passed around my family a lot and very upset/confused. Then at 4.5 years old my family gave me over to foster care for a year, then I was adopted by a family that had no empathy or skills of caring and encouragement. I really never felt safe or accepted anywhere.
    The state system is screwed up – those big-headed people don’t know what they are doing and they throw their power around making decisions based on stupid criteria (not empathy for children.)
    Our parents screwed up big time, too. Maybe someone screwed them up as well? Who really qualified them to have us, or in the other case, to adopt us?
    This all left me hurting in ways that take decades to honestly deal with. Everybody basically ignored it and I mostly denied it. This is NOT helping me as a person, and carrying these scars from old damage is not letting me grow.
    Whatever happens… it’s moving ahead that matters. We can accept that people are what they are – and that they are not what they are not. We can ‘forgive’ ourselves all these messed up feelings about it, because it was all just something that happened to us, and nothing that happened was our fault.
    We’re free to let go, to accept our identity is far more than this crap, Our WHOLE life is workable despite how our past made us feel. We have a responsibility to fully accept ourself, live to be happy, and cut ourself a fucking break already! That last sentence is the only one that matters here, saying it every day.
    Thanks for sharing with me,
    J

    Reply
    • 22. tea  |  November 7, 2012 at 3:46 am

      J, every now and then I go to counseling for a specific issue: like freaking out and hitting someone who touched me; or depression; or suicidal; or anxiety. I can only deal with a little bit at a time as the counseling, although brings relief & teaches me how to deal, it still brings on too much pain. Just saying, we have to LOVE ourselves, take care of ourselves, and sometimes get help. I like sites like these because I can vent a little, hear other people’s thoughts and ideas. I really would like to see a coalition, you know like Blacks have, Women, Unions, and etc. This one would be Foster Children and Alumni Coalition to come up with ways to fix the system, get props “Foster History Month” (LOL), and work with legislatures/politicians to change Dept Human Serv/ Child Prot Serv or whatever name local governments give it. Got to fight through the pain. WE are part of this society. WE are part of the “We the People.” A HUGE part! I bet our numbers are increasing faster than the HISPANIC population. Can you imagine political candidates courting us !

      Reply
  • […] that come into my head automatically don’t appear to be on the list that I read in the blog The Top 5 Stupid Questions that SUCK to ask Someone who Grew Up in Foster Care. In all fairness, it tends to be young people who ask seemingly stupid questions, since they […]

    Reply
  • 24. tea  |  November 7, 2012 at 3:29 am

    and what is worse than the questions of supposedly caring people is the prejudice and discrimination that follows. even my husband throws it in my face sometimes.

    Reply
  • 25. Quest  |  April 20, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Here is another stupid question asked of my three (siblinggroup) foster kids….’wouldn’t you rather live at home” ….stupid stupid stupid…..or the other example of stupidity…people start asking me about the kids, their family etc, in front of them…..back to stupid…tho I still don’t get who makes money out of this, we definitely subsidize the kids life… And truthfully, if I went back to work, away from the exhaustion these guys traumas bring, I would earn more In two hours than what I get from the state for a week per child…I also make mistakes, even tho I research behaviours etc often….and the system continually dicks us around…after 15 months they now say ‘but you are white’ and the kids aren’t …apparently no one noticed the color of our skin before….we book holidays for them, only to have the last minute changes made…and after all this bonding, we are threatened they will go elsewhere….we feel used abused and spat out….

    Reply
  • 26. Alicia Ramirez  |  December 2, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Do you know what really gets me mad? When foster parents talk shit about their foster kids in front of the foster kid. When we were forced to go to church our foster mother would regale her friends about our previous weeks behavior. The foster mom & her friends would say we were monsters. Half the shit she told them were bold faced lies. The looks of horror on these “christians” faces would make me mortified. Another typical statement that pisses me off are foster parents that say shit like this,” I only get paid 39 cents an hour for you-I don’t do this for the money.” Really?! My foster parents got $900 a month for me. That’s more than most minimum wage workers got in the mid 1990’s…I’m a mother of two-you don’t hear me tell my children I could make more money out of home than being with them. If you really want to help foster or adopt money should never matter. And this same foster mother used our money to buy nice clothes & things for her bio family while we went to school in pic n save clearance racks……there are states that pay little & states that pay buku bucks for foster care. Should it really matter?

    Reply
  • 27. Lisa  |  January 20, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Thats very odd that you never had nice clothes, there is money paid monthly to provide clothing. Its only 30 dollars where im a foster parent. Money then comes out of the other money along with the food, utilities, and other costs of raising a child. I am a foster mom. I love doing it, its not always easy. I am not naive enough to think that all foster homes are created equal. I live pay check to pay check, but the day a child comes to my home i’m at store buying them nice clothes and making sure they have a nice hair cut. I get 18 dollars a day, and i can assure you if i was in it for the money I would babysit for more and send the child home. I try to make a difference in a childs life. I’m so sorry you had bad experiences, but please try to look at it from the home you are entering too. Many children come in angry and lost from the bad experiences they have been through, it takes months to adjust for all of the family to come together. It takes strong children and parents to get through the process and not give up.

    Reply
    • 28. MaryB  |  November 15, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      I’m wondering, are the children feeling angry and lost, “from the bad experiences they have been through”, or might it be something other? Children will forgive repeated abuse from a bio parent, and even cry to be returned to them. I don’t know how many times I’ve read an adult who had grown up in multiple foster homes state, “I’d have been better off with my birth parents”, (even though they acknowledge that their birth parents had been abusive). Especially young children tend to have a nature of forgive and forget, even when it comes to some pretty serious abuse. It is only when they are older that they can better voice, so finally experience the anger, and release of the anger with help to express it in healthy ways. They’ve been familiar with what to expect, even the abuse, when with their birth parents, and there is comfort in familiarity. That’s why I tend to wonder if the anger comes from feeling lost. From knowing that their new home, and the next after it, and so on, is not going to be a forever home. They don’t know what to expect in each next home, except that it is not safe to genuinely bond, and they are afraid. I wonder if that might be the deeper cause of the anger, which the average foster parent can’t do anything about until the child comes to terms with an extremely cruel reality of never having lasting love or permanency throughout childhood. When one goes through childhood without those basic human needs, how can they be expected to function, “normally”, in adulthood? The way they function merely to survive the ordeal IS a normal response to continued mistreatment all during childhood, only in a different form than the abuse of their bio parents, and at the hands of an indifferent-hearted state system. How can that arrangement possibly be a SERVICES to CHILDREN, given even the most caring of foster parents? We aren’t in the dark ages anymore, and laws and practices have got to be changed to better meet the needs of new, enlightened generation of people. That is going to take the brave adults who have been victims of the system to speak out LOUDLY, like on this very site. It probably will take a group effort of forming some sort of organization. I hope that those of you who have suffered do just that, as there are children now, who need your voice to help them. There are two children that I love, and absolutely would have given a loving forever home – one they were already familiar with – had it not been for state bulls**t! I don’t know where they are. I don’t know how they are. And, worse, I live with the fear and guilt that they probably believe that I never wanted or loved them – which just is not true. Poor babies have no idea how I grieve for them, and an ignorant caseworker had the nerve to tell me not to write to them that I loved and missed and wanted them, supposedly, because they couldn’t do anything about it – more like, my babies were confronting them with the knowledge that they did have known, familiar family to be turned over to. Needless to say, my contact was cut off once the state got permanent custody from their birth parents.

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  • 29. Raychel  |  October 15, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    The question I fear most:

    “So – where are you from?”

    Aaaaargh

    Reply
    • 30. MaryB  |  November 15, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      Most people are probably only curious by way of trying to get to know you better. So I suggest naming your birth town and state, then evasively offering, “but I’ve moved a lot because my parents work for the government” And they do, as foster parents, since Children Services is state-government operated. But that much is your business, and on a need to know basis. There is no need for you to have to bare your soul to anyone. Yet, neither should you harbor shame or fear over something that was never your fault. Sometimes a situation calls for a partial answer, if any at all. Allow yourself options. Decide whether you believe the person asking is friendly, or merely nosy. There really isn’t any such thing as a, “foster kid”, when you think about it. There is only such a thing as foster parents, or a state foster system. So raise your head high and don’t allow anyone to attach that label to you – because who have you ever fostered as a kid?

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  • 31. MaryB  |  November 15, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    As long as we’re tossing about ideas for improving the system, I wonder what any of you might think about mandatory parenting classes for first time parents, (maybe under a given age, if statistics show that most children who end up in foster care are born to young, inexperienced parents)? If Foster and Adoptive parents are required to take a training course in order to parent children, would it be so terrible if all first time parents were required to do the same? Do you believe this could in any way lessen the number of children who end up the state foster system to begin with? Or at least lessen some of the abuses that occur out of parental ignorance?

    On an issue that is more personal to me, how would you feel about mandatory paternity testing for unwed mothers who receive public assistance? Or at least mandatory paternity testing before a man can sign as the father on the birth certificate of a baby born out of wedlock? In my situation my son had been engaged to a woman who cheated on him. She allowed the other man to sign her child’s birth certificate with no verification that he was in fact the baby’s father. Years later the other man ends up in prison, and the mother shows at our residence, and subsequently admits that my son could possibly be the father of the child. She allows us visits with the child, until the other man is released from prison. Of a sudden she moves away with the child, without a word to my son. Next we know, the child is in state custody, and we can’t even visit her. We mail photos to the child of our times together, which are censored by Children Services before they are ever given to the child. So they did see proof of our family’s history with the child. Nevertheless, they will not acknowledge us as family, even though the child called me and my husband her grandparents. The mother failed to comply with her case plan, and Children Services took her to court to terminate her parental rights. Right before the court hearing the mother confessed that my son could be the father. Children Services refused to inform the Judge, and led us to believe it would anger the Judge if we spoke up, (we had no attorney at the time). Strangers now have our children, despite that we wanted them, and never wronged them in any way.

    Do you believe that if a man comes forward alleging that he could be the true father of a child in state custody, that it should be mandatory that Children Services immediately tests to either verify or discredit his claim – especially when he produces evidence of having spent quality time with the child in question prior to their entry into the state foster system? How many times have there been cases of unproven paternity on TV talk shows? Isn’t testing far less costly than the state supporting that child for up to two years in temporary custody, and until that child is 18 in permanent custody? And that is to say nothing of the trauma the child would be spared by being able to live with a loving father and family who wants them FOREVER.

    Reply
  • 32. Julie  |  December 2, 2014 at 5:02 am

    I just turned 16 in October and im in 10th grade I’ve was in and out of foster care 5 times from kindergarten to fifth grade. So I’ve been home for a while now. Home is with my grandparents that are 50 so everyone thinks they are my parents. I won’t go into detail about how things are here. But question #4 made me think of questions people ask me. Just about all my friends don’t know I was in foster care. Only my best friend knows. And I always say stuff like “i have to ask my grandpa if I can go” and I tell stories and say my grandpa or grandma instead of mom or dad. And people always say “wait you live with your grandparents?” And then I say yes and they ask why and I just say because I do. I always hate it when people say that. Because I say grandpa and grandma instead of mom and dad and im used to saying it but people always ask. I remember once I was in the car with one of my best friend’s and her mom, this friend didn’t know about me being in foster care or anything, well anyways her mom said “you live with your grandparents? ” and I said yes and then she said “do you visit your mom?” And I just said no and she said oh. Then in my head I was like “oh”. This was in 8th grade, this is when I started realizing stuff and people asked questions. Before no one had ever asked about my grandparents or parents or anything. But the first time someone asked and it got to me was my first boyfriend in 8th grade. I telling him a story about my grandpa and something we did at home and he said “wait you live with your grandparents? ” and I said yeah and I went on to continue talking but he asked me why and I said because, that’s what I always said, but before 8th grade people didn’t really ask. I was going on to tell my story but then he said “wait are your parents dead?” I said no. And then it starting getting to me. And he kept asking me questions and I didn’t want to answer. This is when I realized that it’s not really “normal” I guess. All his constant questions triggered something in me, the memories the pain, everything because it got me remembering everything. After coming home from foster care it was like nothing happened. I acted likenothing happened. My mom and dad were in and out of my life again and again and I didn’t notice or cry. It was like nothing happen. The social workers thought foster care didn’t affect me. I always acted okay when I was in foster care but when I came home it was like nothing happened. But then the questions triggered something. Then reality hit me and all the pain from everything that happened to me. For almost three years it was like nothing happened. I would cry myself to sleep every night thinking about everything. Actually feeling the pain I didn’t feel for those three years. Long story short two years after I was “triggered” im really miserable over alot of stuff. And my grandparents think im going threw a typical teen phase when im not. Im just feeling the pain of the stuff that took me too long to realize. And my grandma acts like im some horrible kid. I don’t drink or do drugs or have sex or get bad grades. Yes Im mean but only at home and not all the time. She treats me like im the worst person in the world. I think because of the three years that I was fine they figured I was fine and then now that im a teen and started realizing stuff and getting upset, that it’s a teen phase. She acts like im so horrible. And honestly for being a foster kid and everything that happened to me turned out not that bad. I don’t even know where im going with this. It’s just those questions triggered something in me and now here I am crying still. But if I were to cry to my grandparents they would just think it’s a typical teen phase. Sorry for my rant.

    Reply
    • 33. Laura  |  October 10, 2016 at 7:09 pm

      Julie Tell your Grandma what you just wrote if you haven’t already.. I think she will want to know

      Reply
  • 34. F.A.C.T SA  |  January 8, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Hey, this really hit home. I would like to share your post on F.AC.T South Africa- Fostered Adult Children Together. Would that be OK?

    Reply
    • 35. LooneyTunes  |  January 8, 2015 at 2:43 pm

      Yup that is ok.
      peace.

      Reply
  • 36. happypandaforever  |  July 10, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Hi LT.
    I love getting your newsletter / blog updates in my email inbox. It is probably one of a handful I always open when I receive it.
    I have commented on one or two posts before but just wanted to share my thoughts.
    Please know that you are wanted. We have anticipated and read your posts on love and loss, on disappointment, fear, rejection, your ups and downs, but we all come back here to get to know you more and understand better. We all love you in one way or another.
    You are a kindred spirit. We all have our flaws (or what we perceive as flaws). You are honest and caring, and have a heart of gold. Just because you landed in a crappy system overloaded with unworthy foster parents who couldn’t love care and support you the way you needed does not make you worthless and rejected. It just means that you need to keep hope and spread your wings a little further to scoop the wind that will lift you up.
    You are awesome and encouraging.
    Wishing that we could adopt you.
    From a Foster Mom

    Reply
  • 37. Ana  |  October 20, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    LT, I’ve been reading post after post. I’ve become an instant fan. I’m very happy to have found your blog, but also sad because of some of the things I’ve learned about your life. I can’t change your past, but I can assure you that if I’m approved to become a foster mom I’ll do my best to follow all your recommendations.

    Reply

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I know that means you can't take my writing without my permission. If you do, something can happen.
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