Where the hell are my foster care records?
Ah fuck it…. they are maintained in the state’s storage closet, probably thrown in a file cabinet…. with millions of other kids.
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.
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...
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…
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!
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…
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 adopting 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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