Where the hell are my foster care records?

January 14, 2015 at 5:51 pm 98 comments

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Guess?

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Ah fuck it…. they are maintained in the state’s storage closet, probably thrown in a file cabinet…. with millions of other kids.

Why?

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The state I grew up in does NOT release foster care records to the child after leaving the system.  Under social service laws, the state considers the records “private” and only a judge can decide what, if anything, can be released.

LTfile

What kind of crap is that?

Before you tell yourself and me that it does not matter, hold that thought…

You see,  I don’t know why I was moved from home to home. I don’t know what I did or why they didn’t want me. I barely can remember some foster parent’s names.  I can’t remember all the schools I went to. I don’t have a single report card, or chachaka from those years.   I had a life book, but it was barely filled out and what was in it got destroyed on the streets.

My life is in that record and I can’t see it.  I don’t get to know what was/is so wrong with me that no-one kept me?  If I had known, maybe I could have fixed me.

You think it still doesn’t matter?

How about this?

ME:  Dr. Val…. I was a bad kid.  I got kicked out of all these foster homes and nobody wanted to keep me, a little white kid with blond hair.

DR. VAL:  Maybe you weren’t bad.  Maybe all those moves weren’t about you.

ME:  That’s crap… they were about me or I would have been told what was happening or I wouldn’t have been moved….

You see, I blame myself for every move from every home I stayed at… I can’t remember if I was moved because I was REALLY bad or because the family had a baby and couldn’t keep me.  I don’t know if I was REALLY bad, or the family was moving.  I don’t know!  Most of the time, no-one told me anything...

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In some cases I do remember because the worker told me or because the foster parents were abusive.  But in most cases, I never got to know why or what I did?  I never said I was an angel and if you remember from my old blog, I was honest that I had behaviors that sucked.  But, was not one foster home capable of dealing with me?
By the time I was a young teen, I just gave up caring and actually turned my feelings inwards — at me, not acting out so much.

Was it my age?  Everyone knows people like to adopt infants and toddlers…

Was it history? Everyone know the “T” word (trauma) is problematic…

Just looking at those records would be eye-opening for my life.stock-footage-two-kids-brother-and-little-sister-hold-hands-near-tree-and-talk

What did they ever do to connect me and my brother?  NOTHING… but why?

What did they ever do to find my bio-mother when she left?  NOTHING …. but why?

Do I have other family members somewhere?  I sometimes look on the internet, but there are so many.  What did they do to find out?

Is the person I thought was my biofather REALLY my biofather?…. huh?

Who am I like? …. which traits did I pick up from people as I moved around?

What shots did i have?  Is there any diseases in my biofamily?

All these questions and so many more are in that dam file.  But I have no rights to it!

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I have even emailed the department of social services numerous times asking for my file.  I email lots of people.  They keep it forever, but don’t let me see it?

I’m not out to look for foster parents or social workers and i don’t want to sue people …. I just want to know about MY life…

Foster parents think about this…think about it

1) When a child leaves, tell them why.  If it is because you can’t handle them, don’t tell them they are bad, but tell them something.  Make it not their fault…..because we already think it’s our fault. Don’t lie, but don’t place blame.

2) Write things down that the child tells you when they share things about their family or old friends.  Keep it and give them a copy when they leave.  That paper might be life-saving for a child later.

3) Unless the experience was horrible, slip the child your phone number.  God knows that number could be a lifeline later in life.

4) If you plan on puzzle_fadopting the child, dont ignore their past.  It is part of who they are.  Try to find out as much as you can about the child’s bio-family.  If SAFE, be willing to keep communication open.  Denying past lives is like taking a piece of the child away.

 

There are many foster kids who have no access to their records. Some states are just beginning to allow access, other states fight tooth and nail to keep those records private…..

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my messy hair has fears too what is the purpose of therapy? ……….. anyone?

98 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Julie  |  January 14, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Thank you so much for leaving these tips. We have two daughters that we adopted at the ages of 10 and 13 after fostering for two years.I didn’t have all of the information I needed and it’s been a frustrating process so I know it must be even more frustrating for you. We may foster in the future and I want to make sure that any child that may leave my home feel loved and have all the info he/she needs. I know it’s infuriating to not have access to your records. Thank you for being so honest.

    Reply
    • 2. LooneyTunes  |  January 14, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      Thanks for your note. It doesnt just affect foster kids, but adoptive kids and their families.
      you should have the right to know everything you can once you decide to adopt, to help your children.
      and your adopted children should have the right to know about their lives.
      good luck.

      Reply
      • 3. Leslie Moore  |  January 16, 2015 at 1:12 pm

        adopted children DO have the need AND the right to know their history. my grandson (who i was raising at his mother’s request until he was illegally kidnapped from me by the SS when he was 4 1/2) found me recently (7 years after the kidnapping) and he asked me for the stories of the 4 1/2 years he spent with me. i am sending him those stories and adding photos.

        Reply
        • 4. LooneyTunes  |  January 17, 2015 at 12:17 pm

          i think i agreed with you about adopted children having the right to their history.
          did you think i disagreed?
          everyone has a right to their history and story….

          Reply
  • 5. sageplant  |  January 14, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    I would want to know. And it sucks that they seal the records? I hope you dont give up and find out something..anything..this has got to be a tough journey…but..i really hope you get some kind of info?

    Reply
    • 6. LooneyTunes  |  January 14, 2015 at 8:27 pm

      there is no hope. i have tried so many times with different people and i get the same shit.
      someone once told me to talk to a worker, but they havent been much help either.
      total bummer…

      Reply
  • 7. jnkmailacc  |  January 14, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    I agree. It’s totally effed up. If you have been in foster care they treat you like a 2nd class citizen. I had two little blonde kids for year and a half. Their mom was so young and she just wanted them back so badly. And they really put her through hell first and they didn’t need to. It was wrong how they tortured her. If she had money for a lawyer she would have those kids back in six months.

    Reply
    • 8. LooneyTunes  |  January 14, 2015 at 8:29 pm

      the whole system is still fucked up. and since it is not regulated federally, states can do whatever they want.
      i feel like a no citizen… no rights what-so-ever about my life in the file.
      thanks for your comment

      Reply
  • 9. Another Time  |  January 14, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Before I even got near the conversation snippet with Dr. Val I was thinking, “I don’t get it!!” That seems royally stupid not to have access to the file, especially since they are saying it still exists. If they are thinking it is protective to withhold, it isn’t really in my mind either. You are an adult and should be able to handle reviewing what you all ready lived!

    Hopefully your file will soon be released to you like other states are doing. It’s gotta have medical stuff, and that’s surely important. Just as important as piecing the past together. Almost seems, to my limited knowledge, like they are treating the files as juvie records. “Gone” once the child has aged up.

    Reply
    • 10. LooneyTunes  |  January 14, 2015 at 8:31 pm

      i dont think my state is anywhere close to releasing records. i have tried for years with lots of different people.
      one lady even knows who i am because i emailed so much.
      all i think about is what are they hiding? why are they hiding it?
      argh.

      Reply
  • 11. Safiyah Al-Muslimah  |  January 14, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    Your post really resignated with me, because I was a foster kid also. I was put into foster care at a very young age as a baby. I have been trying to get my records as well, and it took a letter to the governor of North Carolina just to get them to let me read them. They would not give me copies of them though. Actually, the foster care records were not there and only the CPS records about the case were there. It also seemed to me that what they did have was just bits and pieces here and there and out of order. I asked them about records dealing with my time in foster care and which homes I had been to, but they could not give me these as they told me that they purged them. They told me they were allowed to do this after so much time has passed. I was shocked that they could even destroy foster care records like that. I was adopted at five years old and I don’t even have access to the adoption records as it is a state with closed adoptions. I was always told who my biological parents were supposedly, but now I am finding out the hard way through memories surfacing that they may not be my bio parents at all and I may even have completely different biological parents who gave me a completely different first name. It is almost as if I were switched around and I am not the person that I was told I was growing up and I am just now finding that out, so it is a big shock and surprise to me.

    Reply
    • 12. LooneyTunes  |  January 14, 2015 at 8:34 pm

      oh man, i am sorry you are in the same spot as me.
      i dont know what is worse… seeing partial records and being told the other stuff is gone, or not seeing anything.
      i would bet they are a mess and that is why they dont let adults who were in foster care see them.
      i hope you figure more stuff out.
      peace.

      Reply
  • 13. sciencedino  |  January 14, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    Man, that’s such crap. This has happened to our pre-adoptive foster son. He’s 11, we’re his 10th placement. He has very little understanding of why other placements have ended. Because we have his file, sometimes I can tell him the real reason why a placement ended (sometimes not – what’s in his file is not complete, and sometimes is completely incorrect). We’ve also kept him in touch with the foster family he was in for just over a year before he came to us, because he’s friend with the foster brother in that home. We want him to know it’s ok to stay connected to safe people from the past.

    He still has sibling visits with one sibling. But after the other two were adopted, their adoptive parents stopped all visits and refuse all contact. That really chaps my hide. Unfortunately, his birth mom is not alive but I was able, via a chain of social workers, to find a (safe, appropriate) family friend from when he was 3-5 years old who has been able to answer some of his questions and share stories about his family life from that time – she even has some photos of him from before he came into care! We hang onto every scrap of his history that we can!

    Reply
    • 14. LooneyTunes  |  January 14, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      wow, thanks for doing all you can to help your son.
      i have tons of questions and no answers and hopefully your son will have more answers than questions.
      i have heard from people that the workers are a way to get stuff (that should be written down, but is not)… but i dont trust them that much either.
      good luck trying to find out more information,
      peace

      Reply
  • 15. s00147954  |  January 14, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    The situation isn’t much better here. In Australia in the 20th century, there was about 500,000 kids who were in institutions – the ‘forgotten Australians’ – who still don’t know where they came from. things have improved a little, but there’s still so much to be done.

    I can’t even imagine how much that must suck for you LT. As bad as your past is, I guess I would want to know too. You’re an adult, it should be your right to decide. Fuck the system.

    Reply
    • 16. LooneyTunes  |  January 14, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      that is terrible. see its a worldwide problem and no-one cares really.
      kids just thrown away and then forgotten.
      they could blacken out my foster parents names and i would be fine with that… just wanna see why, etc.

      australia is far away from the US, but i looked at pictures once and it seemed nice.
      but have a fucked up ssystem too…
      peace.

      Reply
  • 17. cherubmamma  |  January 14, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    I fostered a teen last year. Right before (like a day before or so) he went back to a kinship placement, CPS accidentally sent me a PDF of his entire record. Seems The System had been involved in his life since he was 9 months old. I printed out a copy and made sure to give it to his new guardian. I was glad to hear that she shared it with him and helped him understand all the things that had happened to him.

    Reply
    • 18. LooneyTunes  |  January 14, 2015 at 10:19 pm

      wow…he got lucky.
      was nice of you to give it to his new guardian and that she took the time to go through it with him…
      peace

      Reply
  • 19. carog424  |  January 14, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    The system is badly broken, probably beyond repair. I am a current Foster parent and I am determined to help make a change. It probably won’t be in time to protect our little guy from the trauma inflicted by DHS and his return to the bios, but I am determined to make a difference!

    Reply
    • 20. LooneyTunes  |  January 14, 2015 at 10:20 pm

      hopefully you can. even if you touch one kids life, that is something.
      sometimes you might never know how much of an impact you can have on a kid.
      trust me
      peace

      Reply
  • 21. Beth D'Arcy  |  January 14, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Hi LT, I also live in Australia.
    Here, if we are really unhappy about a situation (such as yours) sometime it helps to lobby a politician, especially if it is an election year. Do you have a local member of parliament that could support you?
    Also, have you explained your reasons for wanting the information? Maybe if you signed a letter saying you wouldn’t sue anyone may persuade some people??
    Do you have legal aide? In Australia it is free for people without much income. Maybe they could assist??
    I am just thinking of who I would turn to if I was in your shoes.

    Your situation also reminds me to keep good records for my 12yo foster child who is in our care- til she is 18 hopefully.

    I also want to thank you for your blog which keeps me going when things get really tough with a traumatised 12yo in the house. I would like her to read your blog one day so she knows that she is not alone.
    Do you mind if I share your blog wit my foster carers support group online?
    With thanks and all the best xx.

    Reply
    • 22. LooneyTunes  |  January 14, 2015 at 10:28 pm

      i am not sure what parliament is?.. .. but i guess its like our governement..

      i have not gone the political route because it’s a law. its not just because they want to keep the records, but its actual law about the records.
      i dont want to reveal too much that would give me away, but i have tried just about everything.

      i hope you keep good records for your foster child. she may have lots of questions some day, but she definitely isnt alone…
      you can share my blog with anyone who works with foster kids to help them.
      peace.

      Reply
  • 23. nightaura  |  January 14, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    I have stayed in contact with most of my older kids, some 9 years later (we started fostering 10 years ago.) I try to hold on to copies of most of their records, pictures, contacts, copies of birth certificate/social security cards. They all have needed some information from me at some point in time. Just about all of them moved under crappy circumstances, too. Some moved under crappy circumstances more than once. Can you go and look at your records without leaving with a copy?

    Reply
    • 24. LooneyTunes  |  January 14, 2015 at 10:23 pm

      it is nice that you hold on to things that kids need. also things that kids may want later in life, like pictures, etc.
      i didnt have any foster parents that did that…i dont think.
      i can’t even see my records. everything has to be done through the court system.
      the judge has the power and in most cases, i have been told, nothing is released.
      peace.

      Reply
  • 25. Stephanie  |  January 14, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    I used to be a CASA to two brothers who would now be aged out. I think about them and pretty sure I found one of them on facebook. I’ve considered reaching out but I’m not sure if they’d remember me and more importantly, if they did- would that be harder on them? That time in their life? I don’t know but perhaps I should just try. I don’t know how hard you would be to find, and I’m not trying to blow sunshine up your butt, but it’s possible people could be looking for you also.

    Reply
    • 26. LooneyTunes  |  January 14, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      honestly, if you feel comfortable, i would give it a shot. the worst that could happen is for him to say he doesnt want to talk about that time.
      if someone was looking for me and found me, and it was someone that helped me, i would be very happy. he might be too.
      but sometimes boys are different with how they deal with their feelings about things, so try not to get too hurt if he just wants to push those memories away.

      i dont think anyone is looking for me.
      i once found a teacher who i emailed and that was nice.
      but honestly, i dont think my time in foster care was that happy and most people were glad i was going
      i actually envision people having a party when i left….

      Reply
      • 27. Stephanie  |  January 14, 2015 at 11:20 pm

        Some kids are just more headstrong/spirited/opinionated/passionate/ strong-willed than others. Hard to live with? Yes. Party over it? No. Everyone has their awesomeness and a little less-than-awesomeness in them, especially if they’re survivors of tough times.
        I reached out to him after I read your reply. You are right, it’s better to offer help and let him choose than not offer and give him nothing. You are so precious and wonderful, LT.

        Reply
        • 28. Stephanie  |  January 15, 2015 at 8:43 am

          And– It’s a load of total bullshit that people can’t see their own records. It makes me so mad. And sad, for people who desperately need it. (Who wouldn’t?)
          We should start a petition.

          Reply
          • 29. LooneyTunes  |  January 15, 2015 at 12:06 pm

            its hard. some states foster kids are allowed, but it is tough to get them… like Florida i hear.
            some states it is easy before 18th birthday.
            some states you can get them at anytime.
            some states you can NEVER get them.
            some states you can request your records sealed.

            some states keep them for 25 years
            some states get rid of the at age 28
            some states keep them for 99 years
            some states keep them forever..

            there is no consistency and that makes it hard.

        • 30. LooneyTunes  |  January 15, 2015 at 11:42 am

          you sound like Dr Val with your explanation of “kids”
          i hope that you get a response. it is nice that you thought about reaching out to him.
          i think alot of people compartenmentalize and choose to forget or ignore.
          the same ones that say “the past is the past – move on”…
          besides you never what kind of impact you make on people.
          let me know what happens…
          but like i said, dont be crushed if he “has moved on”… i met alot of young guys on the streets that “moved on” because they could not deal with their feelings. guys seem to be better at masking things, at least in my experience.
          peace.

          Reply
          • 31. Stephanie  |  January 15, 2015 at 10:17 pm

            Yeah, I will certainly understand. And even if he doesn’t want to talk now, that doesn’t mean he *never* will. Besides, the glimpse I can see, looks like he’s safe and in community college so that’s pretty cool in my book.

  • 32. Nora  |  January 14, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    There may be a lawyer who would be willing to help you on a free (pro bono) basis who could go to court on your behalf to seek release of the records. Most cities have legal aid services that might be able to help you find a pro bono lawyer or the local bar association may have a referral service. If I knew what state you were in I could help you on finding a free lawyer, but I know you can’t tell us where you live.

    Reply
    • 33. LooneyTunes  |  January 14, 2015 at 10:45 pm

      i actually live far away from the state i grew up in.
      i dont even know if it would matter because everytime i ask, they tell me that the courts decide and in most instances, nothing is released.
      i have tried almost everything i could. i even showed their responses to dr. val, my therapist.
      its like closed adoption records…people need them open but they are not able to get them either.
      thanks.

      Reply
    • 34. LooneyTunes  |  January 14, 2015 at 10:48 pm

      i actually dont want to give too much a way, but i can tell you that there were lawsuits from other aged-out kids and they lost.
      no rights to see anything… 😦

      although i thought about raising the medical issue — i need to know some history — but i dont even know if that would be in the records becuase my bios might not have given it or were missing.
      … as dr val says, i want to see everything so i can figure out alot about my life… but they dont care.

      Reply
  • 35. onemorewithus  |  January 14, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    LT, maybe we can start some sort of petition for your state. Maybe we can start asking for release of information to former foster kids. I know a site that helps petitions to start. I think the site is called, change.org

    I find it absurd that you can’t have your files. Absurd! That is inhumane to deprive a person of his or her own life facts. If you start a petition, I will sign it.

    I also thought if you could find a state lawyer? Is that possible? We have a saying from where I come, “Soft water dripping on hard rock will eventually poke a whole through it” – Keep asking.

    Gloria

    Reply
    • 36. LooneyTunes  |  January 15, 2015 at 11:49 am

      actually there are LOTS of states that do not give foster kids access to their records.
      there have been lawsuits and the majority of them lost.
      i wish i could say more, but i choose not to reveal the state i grew up in so that i can talk freely..for many reaons.
      but i can tell you that i have done almost everything possible without getting arrested

      honestly, i know the adoption folks have a strong voice wanting the opening of their records, so i am kind of hoping that their movement makes waves for foster care records too.
      last time i asked, one lady who responds to me all the time used CAPITAL LETTERS – LOL.
      like i didnt hear her and the others all million times i have asked.
      peace.

      Reply
  • 37. mv49496  |  January 15, 2015 at 12:09 am

    LT: good for you for advocating and educating for foster kids. you are opening all our eyes. hope you get your answers. MV Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2015 22:51:57 +0000 To: mv_49496@hotmail.com

    Reply
    • 38. LooneyTunes  |  January 15, 2015 at 11:51 am

      thanks for your note.
      i dont think people realize that many many foster kids dont get their records.
      different states have different laws, but its not easy even if a state has open records.
      peace

      Reply
  • 39. Tara dSL  |  January 15, 2015 at 2:17 am

    That must be so frustrating for you. I asked over and over about getting my son’s case file (we adopted him from foster care) and I finally was able to get a copy from the state, but it was so heavily redacted that I could not understand it at all. It would be like “Home visit with XXXX. XXXX said that XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.” Probably 80% of the document was blacked out. They even redacted my husband’s name when they got to the part where he moved into our home. It would say, “Tara and XXXXX reported that child is doing well.” I understand why they do it, but I wish they could find a happy medium to allow people to have some privacy and also help the foster child make sense of their past.

    Reply
    • 40. LooneyTunes  |  January 15, 2015 at 11:54 am

      see, that’s what i mean. it might be worse to get a record like that then nothing at all.
      i understand hiding the names, but not the “said that XXXXXXXXX” — if there is no name, you cant figure out who said what anyway.

      personally i dont think many foster kids want to sue the foster parents, they just want answers about their lives.

      i cant believe the state took the time to blacken everything out. don’t they have more things to do? know what i mean!
      peace.

      Reply
  • 41. auntie32  |  January 15, 2015 at 8:35 am

    LT… WOW!

    It’s interesting that you wrote this post. Yesterday was my first meeting on our county Foster Parent Advisory Board. In our initial discussions, our focus was on adolescent teens and HOW we care for them. This issue of “knowing who you are” came up!

    May I share this blog entry with my team? Part of our role on the board is to write policy that will impact HOW we work with our youth. This team, over the next however many years will have a voice FOR children and to provide them with what they need to become successful and productive in their lives. Certainly knowing YOUR story is an essential piece of this puzzle!

    For the first time they are listening to the children in care and making decisions to improve the quality of those services. Your truth that you write above, it essential to help in understanding that you NEED your records and since it is YOUR story, YOU have the right to those records.

    As strange as this may sound, I have kept EVERY single paper we have received on our children. I have no plans of “scrapbooking” them, but absolutely plan on packing it away until the right time for our girls to read. They deserve to know what happened and why! Yes, we talk openly to them about what we can and what is age appropriate, but some day, as an adult they will have those questions and I want to be able to hand them what they are seeking!

    Again…THANK YOU… wow this totally opened my eyes!!!

    Reply
    • 42. LooneyTunes  |  January 15, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      hi. you can share the blog. anytime my writing can help people, its ok.

      you know, think about this. even if foster kids can’t get copies of their records to take with them, why not make a rule where the child who is leaving foster care is walked through their records. kind of like have a team of counselors and other people who specifically spend time answering the kids questions. as many times as it takes and done in a compassionate way so that the child doesnt leave without answers.

      like i can imagine the foster child and 2 other people sitting at a table just talking about their time in foster care. make it real calm, but let the child take the lead.

      and if the child has no question at that moment, know that they can call the counselors and other people who went through their records for help later remembering things.

      not all kids will need it because they might have only been in care for a short time, or they are old enough to know things, or they just dont care, but it should be an option. and doing it with people to help you through it would reduce the hardness i think.

      if someone had sat down with me and answered my questions as best they could i think i would be so much healthier and comfortable with myself. not that it takes away all my problems, but i would have some very hard questions answered.

      i hope your board can do what’s best for the kids… cause that is what it should be about. not hiding shit, but sharing the truth about kids lives.
      peace.

      Reply
      • 43. nightaura  |  January 16, 2015 at 5:30 am

        That would be a GREAT idea, LT. Have folks sit down with the young adult to go through things with them. I would also want to make sure that an adult who wasn’t ready at aging out to do this could do this later.

        Reply
      • 44. auntie32  |  January 16, 2015 at 8:34 am

        Oh LT…I am taking that exact recommendation directly to this board. I think that would be a WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL opportunity for children to know THEIR story!

        THANK YOU!!! You are helping SO MUCH!!! I can’t wait to share that idea with them and I will personally pursue this as an initiative.

        I have said it for several years now… we must care for children on many levels and we MUST address the trauma they have been through so that we can have healthy outcomes!

        THANK YOU!!!

        Reply
        • 45. LooneyTunes  |  January 16, 2015 at 6:24 pm

          good luck.
          with the system the way it is, you will probably lose.
          (im negative today)
          peace

          Reply
  • 46. manyofus1980  |  January 15, 2015 at 9:32 am

    LT
    That’s a fucked up situation your in. I think records should be freely available! Here in Ireland, there is an organisation called epic, empowering people in care, they work with all young people who are either rin care, or who’ve aged out, and they help them to obtain their files from being in foster care. I think they do terrific work. I’m sorry you don’t have an organisation like that in the USA. I wish you did. If nothing else you do need to know things like which shots you’ve had, medical history, etc. XX

    Reply
    • 47. LooneyTunes  |  January 15, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      ireland is far away!

      we dont have any organization like that here. i know the adoption movement has some organizations that are fighting for open adoption records. but foster care not so-much.

      part of the problem is that there are not federal rules.
      some people can see their records
      some people can see then until they turn 18
      some people can never see them

      some states keep them forever
      some states keep them until you turn 28
      some states keep them for 99 years
      some states keep them for 10 years

      nothing is consistent, so it makes it hard.

      do you like green living in ireland?
      i should move there cause green is my favorite color!
      peace.

      Reply
      • 48. manyofus1980  |  January 15, 2015 at 3:45 pm

        LT, want to swap? I love the USA my partner lives there and I want to move to be with her so you can swap me I go there and you can live here how about it lol The only thing is, there are no Cheetos in Ireland and no recess peanut butter cups either boohoo i’m always getting my partner to send them to me because I love them so much hahaha xxx

        Reply
        • 49. LooneyTunes  |  January 16, 2015 at 5:50 pm

          no peanut butter cups? are you serious?
          what you are missing….. LOL

          Reply
  • 50. Kimberly  |  January 15, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Lt please do not stop tryin to get or at least see those records in part or all of them! It is key to your healing and being able to move forward with your life as im certain you know better than i could ever say. Before you talked about the hippies, maybe as a shot in the dark you could reach out to them they sounded good and as hippies are wont to do i bet they would help you all that they could. And even tho others have been denied i would not rule out getting legal help and tryin anyway, after all you are no stranger to them saying no so why not try wish there was more ways to help…..

    Reply
    • 51. LooneyTunes  |  January 15, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      hi. i have thought about looking for the hippies because i would like to apologize for what i did … when they told me i had to leave. i burned their record album covers 😦
      i contacted a teacher through email once. i really liked her. she remembered me, but did not have alot of answers because i was only there a short time. at least she told me i was not bad in her class.

      i might try to make a diagram of what/where/who i remember and then see what happens.
      dr val might be able to write a letter about why i need them. i never tried that yet.
      thanks for you note
      peace.

      Reply
      • 52. Tara dSL  |  January 15, 2015 at 11:03 pm

        I think that is an excellent idea to have a record review with the foster child as he/she is exiting foster care. Wow! Would be great to see that put into action.

        It’s my understanding that if you contact the CPS caseworker, he or she will reach out to the foster parents on your behalf and ask permission to put you in touch with them. That might be a way to get in touch with the hippies. I bet just sitting down with them, apologizing and asking forgiveness, getting your questions answered, etc, would be tremendously healing for you. Good luck.

        Reply
        • 53. LooneyTunes  |  January 16, 2015 at 6:26 pm

          yes i agree. i actually know there name and have “looked” on the internet for them.
          it would be interesting to know what they thought of me and what happened.

          Reply
      • 54. nightaura  |  January 16, 2015 at 5:48 am

        I would contact the Hippies. I had kids leave who were arrested repeatedly, put major holes in walls, broke very sentimental things, stole anything not nailed down, even hurt the dog (not anything crazy serious though). And I am still in contact with all of the kids who did those things. The one who hurt the dog and the one who stole everything both walked 2 miles in a bad blizzard to help us shovel out of a bad blizzard and they both helped us move.

        Had another kid, our first teen, come back a few years later to say he was sorry for how he behaved (and he wasn’t really that bad overall).

        I think most of us understand that kids mess up, sometimes to the point that we can no longer live with each other. That doesn’t mean we don’t care, hate them, never want to think of them again. It just means at that point in all our lives, things weren’t at a point we could live with each other.

        Good luck, LT.

        Reply
        • 55. LooneyTunes  |  January 17, 2015 at 12:01 pm

          Thanks for your note.
          I am thinking about it. I will let you know what happens if i decide to “find them”
          peace.

          Reply
  • 56. Sarah  |  January 15, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Hi LT, thank you for your awesome blog. I have read a few of your posts and plan to read the rest soon.

    My husband and I became foster parents on 5 December 2014, to the sweetest, most adorable 2 year 10 month old boy.

    We don’t live in the USA, but I understand how you feel. I am severely frustrated with our system and I am not even a foster child myself.

    We didn’t even get the full 411 about his family history before he came to us. It was an urgent move, since the story we were told is that he and the other foster boy at his previous foster parents didn’t get along. (He was there for only 4 months) He was first moved from his biological parents, to a safe house, due to severe poverty and neglect, but according to his youngest siblings foster dad (who got more info) there were drug and alcohol abuse too. He has two older siblings, a brother (I think 6 or 7) and sister (5) (placed together at a care home due to special needs), and younger brother (9 months) (placed with a really caring couple).

    We had court today and all the siblings have received court order placement with their respective foster families for the next 2 years, after which the situation will be reassessed.

    Long story short, my heart breaks for him.

    We tell him everyday that we love him and that we are so happy that he is with us, we do it a million times a day. Because I can’t imagine being in his little shoes.

    He loves his dad so much, and after seeing the family again today after a months break, he had several meltdowns again tonight due to emotional exhaustion and being so heartsore.

    I just held him and rocked him after his screaming and tantrums settled down. And I told him that it is okay to cry, and it is okay to miss his dad, but that I did love him, and that he is safe with us, and we are not going anywhere, and that we will take care of him.

    I just which I could give his little heart and soul a hug to calm him down and tell him that he will be okay.

    More in line with your post; I started a journal for him with all the things that goes on in his daily life, with all the cute things he says, and how pronounces things, his favourite songs, and the fact that he sings certain songs super loud and that we love it and praise him for it.

    I also keep a record file with all the reports I have been able to source, amongst which is his clinic booklet (with birth weight and height, apgar score, immunisations, growth chart, development chart, which happen to indicate that he was called a diffent name first, etc), the file also contains a copy of his birth certificate, the court orders for his placement with us, etc.

    I have saved hundreds of photos and profile posts from his parents FB account, and have taken some photos with his siblings today, but after your post I will definitely make a point of gather even more family info, and contact details, etc.

    Sorry just realised how long this reply is, but I have so much respect and appreciation for you. I can’t imagine how lost you must have felt or still do. But your advice is not going unheard or unnoticed.

    Thank you and I hope to read many more posts,
    Sarah

    Reply
    • 57. LooneyTunes  |  January 16, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      hi. thanks for your note. it seems like you are trying and doing everything right.
      i used to read foster parents blogs who hated bio-visits because the kids always had a meltdown or acted-out… and i would say “what do you expect? the kid is totally confused and torn between two worlds.. adults couldnt deal very well with the situation either.”

      i hope you can arrange for visits with his siblings, because it is so important.
      sounds like you are gonna be good foster parents.
      peace.

      Reply
  • 58. TMF  |  January 15, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Hi LT, I am new to your blog, had it forwarded to me by someone on an adoptive parent website blog. Thank you for your insight, vulnerability, and willingness to share your experiences. In the one day I have been reading it, I have both felt validated for things I’ve been doing instinctively and had my eyes opened to things I need to start doing.

    I am in the process of foster to adopt two little girls (6 and 9). They have been with me for 5 months and were in one foster home for 3 years before that (foster mom was older and didn’t want to adopt), and we have an “open” relationship with her – girls can call/text her any time and she’s been to my home several times for dinner/events). They had been on DCFS’ radar for a while before they were finally taken from their birthmom for good and spent one night in a shelter, then this foster home.

    We have very little info on birthmom – she apparently in the past will make a phone call asking about them and then disappear for a year. TPR has been petitioned and we hope will be granted this spring. Girls’ occasionally talk about their mom, I encourage them when they do – but my little one was 3 when they were taken, and even before then they bounced around a lot between different kinship homes, so she doesn’t have many memories. My 9 yo has more memories, but admits she can’t differentiate between what are real and what are fantasy.

    I have pretty detailed records for them and am trying to keep them in good order in binders both for my needs, as well as for them when they are ready. I’m using the advice I’ve gotten from lots of folks to let them lead the way with how much they want to know and when – I want to be ready for that day/time. As far as I can tell based on their records and therapists, their case was one of neglect.

    Anyway, that’s a little of the background of one of your new followers – I hope it helps to know that you are helping others as you continue on your journey. And that one more person keeps you in their thoughts and prayers.

    Reply
    • 59. LooneyTunes  |  January 16, 2015 at 5:54 pm

      thanks for your note. sounds like you are doing a good job with everything, record-keeping, keeping contact with important people, letting them talk…
      you don’t need to read my blog!
      hang in there because sometimes it gets harder when you think it should be easier (ie. adoption)
      peace.

      Reply
  • 60. Homaira  |  January 15, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    LT, thanks for writing another eye-opening post. It’s definitely frustrating to see how deeply flawed this system is.
    On a different note, do you have any tips for healthcare professionals working with foster kids or former foster kids? My med school is planning to have me rotate at an inner-city clinic that works with foster kids, among other people. I am incredibly excited, but I am also worried that I will say something insensitive – a foster parent’s role is very different from that of a doctor/nurse/therapist. Are there any “standard” questions or points of discussion that you wish your doctor had handled differently? Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • 61. LooneyTunes  |  January 16, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      hey, let me think about this and get back to you this weekend. i gotta get my head on straight.. its stuck right now.
      its a good question though. check back later this weekend.
      and study hard this weekend!
      peace

      Reply
      • 62. Homaira  |  January 16, 2015 at 7:42 pm

        Thanks!

        Reply
      • 63. LooneyTunes  |  January 18, 2015 at 7:55 pm

        the thing that pops into my head more than anything else is to explain what you are doing and why. take the mystique out of the exam. alot of foster kids might not like to be touched, so go slow.
        also, i wish the few doctors i saw asked about how happy i was in my home if you are in privately with the kids. show them the pain scale of smiley faces/sad faces and ask them to rate their home. if sad faces, ask why and be prepared for all asnwers from abuse to “i cant watch TV.” sometimes you might be the only one who hears that a foster home is bad.

        if i can think of anything more, ill let you know.
        good luck!

        Reply
  • 64. ritalee8383  |  January 15, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    I can’t imagine how that would be to not know all of these things LT. In the very least you would think they could give you your family medical history. Have you ever seen the TV show “The Locator”? I wonder if he could help you. I don’t even know if it’s on anymore. I have seen him on some other tv shows and he really seems to get information that other people aren’t able to get. Maybe you might want to contact him. I’m sure some of his investigations are done in private. I know you have some settlement money from your accident. Maybe you might consider investing a little bit of it to get some answers that you want.

    http://www.troythelocator.com/Main.asp

    Reply
    • 65. LooneyTunes  |  January 16, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      thanks for the suggestion.
      i know my bioparents. i know where my biofather is because of his prison record. i dont know about my biomother.
      im not sure i want to see them in person. i just want the facts, you know…?
      ill check out the link….thanks.
      peace.

      Reply
  • 66. Foster Mom in Training  |  January 15, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Do you know your mother’s maiden name? You could do marriage record searches online. There are also websites like casenet, which provide public records of arrests, traffic tickets, lawsuits, etc. You could also try researching through ancestry.com. Try search Facebook and Twitter. It’s time consuming, but you might be able to locate someone who could answer your questions. I wish you the best of luck. (((Hugs)))

    Reply
    • 67. LooneyTunes  |  January 16, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      i just want answers without having to meet them.
      i know where my biofather is (or was) because of his prison record. my biomother…dunno.
      but i dont want to talk to them…im scared. i want more than just information about them.
      i want about why i got moved so much and stuff like that.
      sorry… just babbling here….

      Reply
      • 68. Katie K  |  January 16, 2015 at 9:23 pm

        Do you have any interest in finding other bio relatives? That might be a way to learn more about your bio parents without having to talk to them. There are websites that helps people track down relatives through DNA testing (this one, for example: https://www.familytreedna.com/family-finder-compare.aspx).

        I am a bit of a genealogy buff and even though I was working with pretty through family histories to start with, getting the DNA run was super fun and helpful. Plus a met a few new (arguably distant) cousins.

        Reply
        • 69. LooneyTunes  |  January 17, 2015 at 1:08 pm

          thanks for your comment… i dont know the answer to your question.
          i really don’t.
          i am not sure i even have any other bio-relatives?
          my last name is common, so there could be tons of people and i am not sure my bio-father was really my father.
          i have to think about this and will look at your link.
          its kind of interesting…
          thanks,
          peace.

          Reply
      • 70. Foster Mom in Training  |  January 19, 2015 at 12:17 am

        You might hire a private investigator. Perhaps they could locate your aunts, uncles, grandparents, or cousins? Perhaps he could ask some of these questions for you. It’s totally up to you. An investigator could also help you locate the hippies. I just want peace and happiness for you, LT. (((Hugs)))

        Reply
        • 71. LooneyTunes  |  January 19, 2015 at 9:06 am

          thanks for your note.
          i am thinking about what it is that i want to do and who i want to “find”
          i have alot of mixed emotions and have to think through this carefully.
          but i am thinking about it!
          peace.

          Reply
  • 72. butterflysblog  |  January 18, 2015 at 2:21 am

    Sweet LT – another awesome post that helps us learn and understand. I think it is totally fucked up that you can’t have your own freaking records. You are so right to be angry about that. I agree with previous posters – I think the hippies are a good place to start. Love, Butterfly

    Reply
    • 73. LooneyTunes  |  January 18, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      hi butterfly. how are you?
      you still make me smile when you comment.
      peace.

      Reply
      • 74. butterflysblog  |  January 21, 2015 at 12:41 am

        Sweet LT – your blog posts still make me cry and laugh and everything in between, and I am so grateful to you for it. Love, Butterfly

        Reply
        • 75. LooneyTunes  |  January 21, 2015 at 2:50 pm

          i still think about you and what you were going through.
          i hope things have gotten better…
          peace.

          Reply
          • 76. butterflysblog  |  January 21, 2015 at 10:54 pm

            Sweet LT – thank you for remembering. It’s actually MUCH much better now. I lost the husband and gained a really lovely sister. I never thought it could be like this, and I am so grateful I waited through the bad time to get to the good. Thank you for caring, sweetie. Love, Butterfly

          • 77. LooneyTunes  |  January 23, 2015 at 8:47 pm

            im glad that worked out for you. i remember it was a very upsetting and confusing time.
            its amazing how things work out.
            hope things continue to go well…
            peace butterfly.

          • 78. butterflysblog  |  January 24, 2015 at 2:51 am

            Sweet LT – it was definitely horrible, and it nearly killed me. But surprisingly, seriously surprisingly, we somehow got to a good place again. 🙂 I’m grateful for you. Love, Butterfly

          • 79. LooneyTunes  |  January 24, 2015 at 3:27 pm

            im glad it all worked out. i remember how sad you were.
            strange things happen dont they?…

  • 80. Author Alys B. Cohen  |  January 18, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    Your information belongs to YOU. I wonder if there’s any way to sue the system for theft of your history. It would be a groundbreaking case since theft of history is bigger than “just open this kid’s record,” but an attorney who looks for meaningful cases might be interested. It would probably take a ton of phone calls though.

    Reply
    • 81. LooneyTunes  |  January 18, 2015 at 10:28 pm

      there have been some lawsuits, but i am not sure for what.
      they did not win. the records stayed private.
      i doubt there is any chance at this point…
      peace.

      Reply
  • 82. Jesse Larabee  |  January 19, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    There is a big class action lawsuit in Ontario

    Reply
    • 83. LooneyTunes  |  January 19, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      i think i heard of that. there was several in the USA…
      can’t say much more than that.
      peace

      Reply
  • 84. westande  |  January 21, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    I really never realized that you were not able to view your records. Something seriously wrong with that. I have always been on the other end and have lamented that I do not know where my foster kids ended up. One of them still keeps in touch and she is doing fairly well and in the Navy. All the others I do not know. I always wanted to know where they ended up and how they are doing and to let them know I did care about them. Many of mine were short-term placements and some were just “respite” but I remember them all and all have a place in my heart, yes, even the ones that were very troubled and had behaviour issues. But, as a foster parent we are not given any information about where the children are sent. Was told it was to protect their “privacy” but a piece of me was always torn when they were taken from my home.

    Makes me insanely mad at how your foster kids are treated and then they tell us that you have bonding issues. Well, yes! When you are taken from one home to another how the heck can you learn to bond. Anyway, I am no longer fostering until I retire completely since I was told the last time (I am a single female) that I was not able to provide enough care since I was working and did not have enough time to devote to the kids.

    I have no idea how they can justify not letting you have your records. They are you, and your life. They make a huge deal of having a “life book” and then they turn around and keep your records from you? Sounds to me like they are protecting themselves from getting made to answer as to why they moved you from place to place. I know that the last two boys that I had I was devastated when they told me that I was not the “right home” for them since they were exhibiting behaviours that were hard to deal with. But I wanted to keep working with them. But being a single female they moved them with no notice. That was so very hard for me. I cannot imagine how hard it was for them. You are helping me with looking at how difficult it must be for them. My heart still aches for them. And I did stick my email and phone # into their clothes when I packed for them but I am not even sure that the notes were found and destroyed. I just want them to know that they were wanted and loved. I think your “hippie” foster parents feel the same.

    My love and hugs. Hang in there.

    Reply
    • 85. LooneyTunes  |  January 23, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      thanks for your comment.
      interesting that you are told “its to protect their privacy”… same thing we are told.
      sounds like being a foster parent has as many unanswered questions as being a foster kid.
      peace.

      Reply
  • 86. smulligan  |  January 22, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Ah, LT….I so wish I could make things right for you. I hope it gives you some measure of peace to know you are having a huge impact on so many children’s lives. As you may recall, I have five kiddos adopted from care. I have done my best to keep open relationships with their birth families. Two are very open (in fact, my youngest’s mother is living with us right now while she gets on her feet), while others are a bit less open for safety reasons. There are times I regret it (such as when a birth mom doesn’t follow through with a visit, leaving me to comfort a confused little one), but I wouldn’t want any child to go thru the pain, loss and confusion you have.

    Reply
    • 87. LooneyTunes  |  January 23, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      i remember.
      i am glad you are doing everything so that they have and understand a history with you and their bios.
      hang tough
      peace.

      Reply
      • 88. smulligan69  |  January 24, 2015 at 12:45 pm

        I don’t know if I made this clear, but YOU are the reason why my adoptions are ao open.

        Reply
        • 89. LooneyTunes  |  January 24, 2015 at 3:25 pm

          oh. thank you for saying that, but i think you already had a good insight into fostering/adopting when i met you.
          you must take alot of the credit becasue you are doing it.

          Reply
  • 90. Siobhan  |  January 24, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    I’m in the American foster system. On my fifth placement in my third year in the system, but I really like my foster parents! They have their own baby and are fostering two five year old boys and a girl my age. Their kids and the other foster kids are like my siblings. They helped me find two of my cousins on Facebook and I get to see my dad every few days. He’s been unemployed and just got his two year sobriety chip. I hope in a few years I can go back to live with him.

    I wish I did have access to my records. My biomom closed them or something. I know why most of my placements didn’t work ( their dog bit me and some other stuff, hitting, and I just didn’t like the last people) except for my second one. I was there for four months and then my caseworker showed up and took me to the place where one of the older boys beat me up. I wish I knew why I wasn’t wanted. I get why you feel like it’s your fault. I still expect my foster parents to do the stuff my biomimetic did and I hate when they drink because of my dad. I expect them to get mad and then they don’t.

    This blog has helped me a lot over the last three years. Just wanted you to know.

    Reply
    • 91. LooneyTunes  |  January 25, 2015 at 7:48 pm

      hey. im sorry you have had so many placements and i hope you get a chance to get back to your biodad.
      im surprised you can’t see your records and you are still in the system. that is crazy. i would be really mad.
      i never thought about asking when i was in the system, just when i grew up and aged-out.

      i am glad your newest foster home is good. i hope you get to stay there until you get to go home with your biodad.
      thanks for your note,
      peace.

      Reply
  • 92. Mandy Jewel  |  September 26, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Hey LT,

    It’s been a few months since this post, I was wondering if you have had any luck obtaining your foster care records since then?

    Reply
  • 93. joe  |  October 15, 2015 at 12:46 am

    I too am this person they took me halfway across the country at 9 pumped full of meds then I grew up and its as if it never happened

    Reply
  • 94. Catherine  |  October 27, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    How can i get my Dcfss my records and court reports, 8years after i left the system.

    Reply
  • 95. S.F.C. G. Howe  |  March 19, 2016 at 5:31 am

    I also would like my records of my childhood spent in foster care (was a Ward of the Court Los Angeles County from age 6 months until I turned 18, years 1967-1983) it would have info about my blood family and assume some insite/input from the socialworkers about me. As a large percentage of foster children experienced while in foster care, I also was abused in every form possible by foster parents, treated as slave labor. The reason behind my becoming a foster child you wonder? My mother’s mom Ms. Mary Louis Smith of Carson, CA (no, not my grandmother. She doesn’t qualify for such an honorable name.) had an affair with a man while her husband served in the U.S. Navy during WW2. That man’s family had a history of Huntington’s Chorea in it and my mom was unlucky enough to get the DNA gene and at the age of 14 was diagnosed with it, she passed away 03-31-71. Since my mom couldn’t care for me, Ms. Smith place me in care of L.A. County to hide me from the rest of the family. My gay Uncle Henry (Bud) Smith from Long Beach, CA molested me when I was 2 or 3 when I visiting my mom at Sunnyside Nursing Center in Torrance, CA. She died at Sunnyside at the age of 32 because of improper care by staff. She was having her bed made and the nurse tending her failed to do her job, my mom fell out of the bed, hit the floor broke her neck and died. Meanwhile I continued to learn one thing since age 4, the only one I could depend on was me! At the age of 12 was finally sick of being abused by my foster mother, (Ms. Bower master from Pico Rivera, CA) my foster brother and I stole Ms. Bowermasters S&W .38 Special and bullets, went and robbed a Frostys Freeze (we lived in 29 Palms at this time). Was sentenced to 8 months in Y.T.S. Chino, CA. I am going to stop and say my childhood was shit. I promised myself at age 18 that if I ever had kids they would never experience a childhood like mine. I joined the U.S. Army two weeks after graduating from high school with a 3.0 avarage, became a Army Ranger, served 21 years proudly with 3rd Btn. 75th Ranger Rgt., served in 6 combat tours around the globe. Have two daughters and raised them by myself (their mom took off), have a son also who’s mom took off w/ him but found. I’m in his life. My oldest child is a law enforcement officer, my middle child joined the U.S. Army and is currently in flight school. My youngest is going to attend U of O in the fall. Scholarship to become a surgeon. I must say my mom’s siblings (1 aunt 2 uncles) contacted me thru the Red Cross after they had seen me coming home on national T.V. from the first Gulf war, I didn’t even know who they were! After 26 years they contact me?! I informed the Red Cross rep to let them know I was not interested in their family, I had my own. Had it, being a foster child, been tough? Yes. But since I wasn’t born into a real family I have my own now. I made sure of two things in my children’s lives, 1. The were when little and still are told every day that I love them. 2. They NEVER experienced a single moment in their childhood that I had. I kept my promise. God Bless.

    Reply
  • 96. Kim Sutherland nee anderson  |  March 25, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Hi I was fostered December 74 northern ireland, me and my sister we were 8yrs and 5yr old, the people that fostered us were physical and emotionally abusive.sadistic almost.have kept these memories locked in the back of my mind all these years .why they r manifesting themselves now , I can’t answer that, what I would like answered is what was there name address, and can they pay for there abuse, all these years later, I need closure.

    Reply
  • 97. Harriet  |  March 23, 2017 at 6:00 am

    hi i was in care from the age of 4 – 16 and i want to get my records. i dont even know where to start trying to get hold of them

    Reply
  • 98. Don White  |  April 18, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    I was only in Florida Fostercare 1964-1966 with two wonderful people. Had a great experience. I still wish I could get access to my interview and my mom’s interview with the Social Worker. So glad I didn’t have the lifetime of Fostercare many had here.

    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!

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