I Was the Child Left Behind

Thoughts of a one lovingly placed for adoption…an adoption that would not happen but rather 18 years of foster care.
 

I watched others being chosen. I was ignored.

I hoped. I waited.

Sometimes they wanted girls, sometimes boys.

Sometimes they wanted a brother and a sister under
five.

I was too young.

I was too old.

Sometimes they looked for a child who had blue eyes.

Sometimes they looked for a child who had curly hair.

They looked and whispered that I was too short.

They said I was too fat.

Sometimes I was too tall or just “Not quite right.”

I wished that someone would come see me and choose me.

I don’t have much hope anymore.

They took some away.

They took little babies.They took pretty girls.
They even took young boys.

I am not sure where they took them.

They said they go across America.

They said some even go to other countries.

When I had hope, I hoped I could just go.

That was before I knew that I was too young or too
old, or too tall or too short, too fat or ” Not quite
right.”

My hope gone. I was the child left behind.

http://www.larrya.us (my web site)

What’s It Like?

Questions of a former foster child: This blogger waited 36 years to just say HELLO to my birth mother and 40 years to do the same with my birth father. Despite this most these question have remained unswered and will forever remain so as both are deceased.

What’s it like:

To know there were shouts of joy by all when you were born?

To have a mother or father hug and kiss you because they love you?

To feel proud as you run “home” from school with your first A and share it with your parents?

To play catch, fish and other things a son does with your dad?

To be able to say “my family”?

To say “my house”?

To say “mom and dad” and know they truely are?

To hear “C’mon Son!”?

To show your dad you can ride without training wheels?

To feel it “neat” to introduce your teacher to your parents?

To share your joy of high school and college graduation with your family?

To hear your life stories from your family?

To answer, “what does your dad do”?

To share pictures of you and your family with others?

To get a family heirloom?

To say you have lived here for X number of years?

To know a “family friend”?

To hear and say “I love you” and know it is meant?

To have Thanksgiving and Christmas with family?

To not feel “attention seeking” when telling your life story?

To answer the doctor’s question…”What is your family medical history?

To answer the question…”So… where is your family from”?

To say to anyone that…”This is my family?”

Please…What’s It Like?…tell me for it is the only way I will know…What’s it Like!

Diary of an Unborn Son

May 3, 1949
I am here today though my mommy doesn’t know it; she
will feel me real soon.

Late May 1949
I am a boy! I can see now and I even have a tail in
which to swim, I love my mommy even if she doesn’t
know that I am her little boy, I am here!

June 1949
My mommy knows I am here, I can feel the love swelling
up in her. I give her a hug with my tiny hands but I
don’t think she can feel them yet, I wonder if she
knows my name is Larry, I will have to tell her that
when I see her that is my name you know.

Early July 1949
My mommy will be proud of how fast I am growing, I
have allot of space to swim around. I am very warm and
secure. She rubs her belly I can feel her warmth. I am
going to pick flowers for my mommy when I am out.

Late July 1949
She brought us to a doctor today. She can’t hear my
heart yet but I hear her tell the doctor that I feel
like a little butterfly. I have a little bit of hair;
I wonder what color of hair my mommy has?

August 1949
My mommy is sad. I can feel her crying. I give her a
big hug cuz my arms are real big now. She cries a lot
when I kick her but I am just telling her I love her.

September 1949
My mommy brought us to a doctor again. She heard my
heart, she said it sounded like horses racing. I don’t
know what a horse is but I know that I like the sound
of her heart. It makes me feel safe and warm cuz I
know that she is there.

Early November 1949
My mommy is crying again. She sings you are my
sunshine to me.I like that she makes me sleepy. I try
not to put my feet in her ribs but I am so big I can’t
move around. I wonder why my mommy is always crying,
it makes me feel sad.

Mid-November 1949
I am so big now I can hiccup. My mommy thinks this is
funny and she pats my bottom with her hand. I don’t
know why but that takes my hiccups away. She eats my
favorite food for me. I like peanut butter, I hope she
makes peanut butter sandwiches for me when I come out.
We can sit and eat peanut butter sandwiches and drink
milk. I will sit on her knee after so she can sing me
a song. I love my mommies voice.

December 1, 1949
My mommy is sad again. She told me that she my grandma
and grandpa don’t understand. Why I wonder? They will
love me like you do because I am so cute.

January 1, 1950
Mommy started to cry again. When I get out I will tell
my mommy that I am a good boy and she doesn’t need to
cry anymore because I love her, and then I will give
her a great big hug with my big arms, and she will be
better.

February 1, 1950
We went to see the doctor again, I heard her ask the
doctor to see me. I don’t know how she could see me
cuz I am in here. She saw me though and she giggled
and started crying again, boy my mommy cries lots.

February 6, 1950 morning
We went to the doctor yet again and my mommy was
talking very loudly. I wonder why she is upset, maybe
she wants to see me real bad. She is crying real hard
and it is hurting me. I think I should try to come out
now cuz maybe I am hurting my mommy and she needs to
hug me.

February 6, 1950 evening
My mommy is screaming and my mommy’s belly is trying
to push me out. I think it is too squishy in here
anyway because I am such a big boy.

February 7, 1950 early morning
I am coming out of my mommy now. Wow, its bright out
here. I am not going to cry because I don’t want my
mommy to be sad anymore cuz her big boy is here

February 7, 1950 mid-morning
This isn’t my mommy holding me, she doesn’t smell
right, I am going to cry now. Mommy, mommy where are
you? Come and get me Mommy!

February 7, 1950 late afternoon
Mommy has left me. I can’t hear my mommy anywhere. I
am cold. I am scared. Why did you leave me mommy?

(Note) My birth mother did not see me before she left; at 19, unwed and unable to provide she had been convinced it would be better to place me for adoption. She found out when I was 36 and found her I was never adopted but lived my entire childhood in foster care.

http://www.larrya.us (my web site)

Pro-Life Does NOT End at Birth!

Did the headline catch your attention? I sure hope it did! It is part of a person’s signature on a message board I belong to which I have read numerous times over the past couple of years and it had an impact on me each time I read it. It however took awhile to get it through my head the full impact it should have on me…I finally got it!.

No this blog entry is not on the subject you may think it is. Though I have my personal thoughts about the Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice; that debate is for someone else to expound upon. I am sure though that this entry will receive negative feedback.
 
I do have an issue with those who seem to think that as long as the life is begun through birth their battle is over.  They do everything they can conceive of to stop a woman from making a decision to abort her child. They provide services for women having financial, pre-natal care or other problems so the women will make the decision not to abort. They even talk to the woman about adoption if the woman is unable to provide for her child after birth.

My questions are: Where are they after the child is born? Where are they when a child is neglected, abused or abandoned after birth? Where are they when the family may need services or financial help to keep their family together? Where are they when there is a need for foster or adoptive families to care for children after they have been abused, neglected or abandoned?

This is why I headline this entry Pro-Life Does NOT End at Birth!

It is NOT enough to do everything possible to see that a child is born. It is also everyone’s responsibility to see that these children (our children) grows up in a stable, loving and nurturing home  so they may have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential as productive members of our society.

I do not wish to generalize and say no pro-lifers have come forward to meet their responsibility; as a number have. I thank them! However I believe many feel their responsibility is fulfilled once the child is born. Your (our) responsibility has just begun!

These children are our kids. They are our neighbors, our children’s schoolmates, and our family members.  They are part of our communities, and they need their communities to stand up, be outraged and be involved in helping them reach their potential and grow up into successful adults, who in turn make significant contributions to their communities.

Over 1 million children this year alone will experience abuse, abandonment or neglect. The reasons for this is wide and varied though none of them are justified.

Over 1500 children will die this year alone as a result of their abuse or neglect. Some will occur while the child is within the foster care system.

Over 700,000 children will experience a period of foster care this year alone with 519,000 living within the system for some extended period of time. There are also a number of children in foster care for which no true justification can be found except CPS removed them from their homes.

There are a total of 170,000 licensed foster care homes in the U.S. Numbers are not currently available for children or youth placed in group homes, residential treatment centers or other institutional care.

Over 120,000 children this year alone will have the parental rights of their parents terminated and be eligible for adoption. Only 20% of these children this year will be adopted. The rest will continue to languish within the system because no family comes forward to adopt them. They are considered too old, too troubled, not the right gender or race.

Over 20,000 children eligible for adoption will age out of the system this year with no family, no mentor or other tools available to them to become dependable, productive members of our society.

A recent study of young adults ages 18-24 and 2.5-4 years after aging out of the system shows:

33% will experience homelessness 12-18 months after leaving foster care. Three of ten of the nation’s homeless are former foster children

27% of the males and 10% of the females had been incarcerated (80 percent of prison inmates have been through the foster care system) National Association of Social Workers

33% were receiving public assistance
37% had not finished high school
10% obtain at least one year of college
2% obtain a Bachelor’s degree or higher
51% were unemployed
84% became a parent
40% experience alcohol or drug abuse
37% have some type of mental disorder due to experiences within the foster care system
30% have no health insurance
Former foster youth have a higher rate of suicide than the regular youth population

*Casey Family Programs National Center for Resource Family Support

I should briefly state why I have such strong feelings on this subject. My birth mother had a choice back in 1950. She was unwed, 19 years old, incapable of providing for a child; yet she was pregnant. She made the choice rather than have a back alley abortion to give birth to me and place me for adoption. She did not know until I was 36 year old when I found her that her wish of adoption never happened. I was instead placed in foster care where I survived eighteen years of sixteen moves, hunger, verbal, physical and sexual abuse as well as attempted suicide due to the sexual abuse. I could have easily been one of the statistics listed above.

I was fortunate. Despite confronting the traumatizing events as I did  I did graduate high school and college, never abused drugs or alcohol nor the face other issues confronting youth aging out of the system. Far too many youth abused, neglected or of the system are not as fortunate.

So I repeat my questions:

Where are you after the child is born and parents are in need of services?

Where are you when the federal government, your city, county or state governments decide to cut programs that would assist these children and their families and possibly keep them family together?

Where are you when these children are abused, neglected, abandoned or killed?

Where are you when these children cry out for a foster or adoptive family when they need to be removed from their homes temporarily or permanently?

Where are you when these children need mentors, teachers, guidance, etc. when they have to age out of the system due to no family coming forward to adopt them when they became eligible?

Where are you when the system set up to protect and provide for these children fail them and they yell for reform of the system that may have damaged far more than what they were taken from?

I am a firm believer in life. I believe however the ultimate decision is up to the woman, and her God.

I am however putting my actions behind my words. I am fighting for the youth once they are born so they have the opportunity I have had; to live my life to its fullest potential.

As I said many pro-life folks today are adoptive or foster parents…they are there in the fight. I thank you and congratulate you! However there are, according to so many reports, millions in the US who proclaim they are pro-life. If that is the case then there should never be a child who is never given this opportunity when for whatever reason they are removed from their homes, they should never languish in foster care for lack of a family coming forward to claim them as their own, our foster care system would be the best in the world rather than the broken failure it is today.

Pro-Life does NOT end at birth…Be Pro-Life after the child is born! We MUST ALL Assume our responsibility today!

Where is the Outrage for OUR Kids?

Yesterday (8/20/07) I was watching CNN’S program, “The Situation Room.” One segment of the program is, “The Cafferty Files.” It is a segment where correspondent Jack Cafferty describes a situation and then asks a question for viewers to respond to via Email. He then reads some of the responses towards the end of each hour of the program.

One of his segments yesterday dealt with the “Michael Vick Case and his decision to plead guilty to his recent indictment in regards to dog fighting. Jack’s question was, “What should be Vick’s punishment?”

I sat in total anger as I listened to Cafferty go on and on about his anger, his outrage and how he was appalled that someone would hold these dog fights and when a dog lost it would be killed either by drowning, hanging, electrocution or shot. One could almost see Cafferty’s bulging veins of anger in his temples and he continued to rage about the subject before finally asking the question.

The response from the public was as anger filled as Cafferty’s rant. The suggested punishment ranged from prison to things I cannot write in this blog.

Of course the media has been following this story from the start. People have responded many times in the same manner as Cafferty. When Vick first appeared in court PETA as well as many others demonstrated outside the court hurling insults and many expletives Vick’s way as he entered the courtroom.

Bear in mind I am an animal lover. What Vick did is absolutely appalling, sickening and reprehensible and he should be punished, along with his co-defendants, to the fullest extent of the law.

However as I watched Cafferty and then listened to the Emails being read I had to ask the question; “Where is the Outrage for Our Kids?”

Where is the outrage from Cafferty and the public when a child is abused, neglected or killed by parents that are suppose to provide them shelter, nurturing and love?

Where is the outrage of Cafferty and the public when in case after case those responsible for the above actions are never punished yet alone ever charged?

Where is the outrage from Cafferty and the public when our child welfare system continues to fail the youth put under their care, who may suffer as much abuse, neglect or death as with their biological parents, in a supposed system of temporary foster care? Over 12 million youth, over the years, have graduated from our foster care system.

Where is the outrage from Cafferty and the public when there are more than half a million children and youth in the U.S. foster care system today, a 90% increase since 1987 but only 170,000 licensed foster homes are available?

Where is the outrage of Cafferty when 120,000 youths have had their parents parental rights terminated and are eligible for adoption but continues to languish within the system as “legal orphans?”

Where is the outrage from Cafferty and the public when 20,000 youths each year, who may have spent years within the system experiencing numerous unwarranted moves, emotional, physical or mental damage, suddenly reaches the age of 18 and ages out of the system whether they have the tools necessary to make it on their own or not?

It appears that Cafferty and we as a society in general get more outraged when an animal is abused, neglected or killed than we do when a child suffers the same fate!

Dogs and other animals are our pets and yes they should be properly cared for and we should be appalled when actions by Vick or others happen.

Children suffering the same fate deserve so much more. These children are OUR children, whether they are of our flesh and blood or not. What happens to them will determine the future of our society as they are our future.

Every child deserves to receive stability, nurturing, shelter/food and love. We should ALL BE OUTRAGED when we know even ONE CHILD does not receive what they are entitled to but rather are abused, neglected or even killed. The outrage should not last just for a day or two when a story may be in the headlines but should be everyday as long as ONE CHILD suffers! “Children in foster care, like all our children, deserve the opportunity for a bright future,” said Jerry Stermer, president of Voices for Illinois Children. “We all share responsibility for making sure these children – who are removed from their families through no fault of their own – have the love and support they need to succeed in life.”

A few pieces of information that really bring home the point:

A recent study has found that 12-18 months after leaving foster care:

30% of the nation’s homeless are former foster children.
27% of the males and 10% of the females had been incarcerated
33% were receiving public assistance
37% had not finished high school
2% receive a college degree
50% were unemployed
*Casey Family Programs National Center for Resource Family Support

Children in foster care are three to six times more likely than children not in care to have emotional, behavioral and developmental problems, including conduct disorders, depression, difficulties in school and impaired social relationships. Some experts estimate that about 30% of the children in care have marked or severe emotional problems. Various studies have indicated that children and young people in foster care tend to have limited education and job skills, perform poorly in school compared to children who are not in foster care, lag behind in their education by at least one year, and have lower educational attainment than the general population.
*Casey Family Programs National Center for Resource Family Support

80 percent of prison inmates have been through the foster care system.
*National Association of Social Workers

Foster youth do have the potential for greatness; just because they are a foster kid doesn’t mean they are a lost cause!

To have the above results outrage such as Cafferty’s and the public’s over the Vick case MUST BE directed towards those who abuse, neglect or kill our children as well as those  who are given the responsibility to care for those of our children who suffer these atrocities. Those responsible for such actions must be held accountable!

Foster youth are our kids. They are our neighbors, our children’s schoolmates, and our family members.  They are part of our communities, and they need their communities to stand up, be outraged and be involved in helping them reach their potential and grow up into successful adults, who in turn make significant contributions to their communities.

As a person who grew up in foster care, survived and prospered despite the system I know what confronts  youth who are abused or neglected whether by their biological parents or the system themselves who are charged with their care.

If nothing changes… by the year 2020:

Nearly 14 million more reported cases of child abuse and neglect will be confirmed;

22,500 children will die of abuse or neglect, most before their fifth birthday;

An additional 9,000,000 children will spend some time in foster care

300,000 more children will age out of our foster care system unprepared to become productive members of our socety

99,000 former foster youth, who aged out of the system, will experience homelessness.

Somewhere out there in America– right now, today — there is a child abused, neglected or in foster care staring up at the ceiling or off into the distance thinking they are worthless because the people around them don’t have the sense to know that they are worthy:

Worthy of being loved.
Worthy of being cared for.
Worth of being protected.
Worth of being sheltered from harm.
Worthy of being allowed toreach their fullest potential.

We MUST change this thinking; We’ve got to do it for this OUR child, our society and our future!

Each of us MUST be outraged, motivated and caring individuals willing to contribute to our local child welfare system as well as reforming it- if not as adoptive or foster parents, perhaps as mentors, tutors or advocates. In this way, we can all take our share of responsibility in ensuring the lifetime success of these often-forgotten and voiceless young people.

Let’s get OUTRAGED!

http://www.larrya.us (web site)

UPDATE 8/22/07

An E mail has been sent to Jack Cafferty with a copy of this blog entry. It will be intersting if he will give me the courtesy of a reply or may address the issue of OUR KIDS in one of his commentaries/questions on the Situation Room. I will update this entry if he does or does not!

2nd Update 08/30/07: I at this point can only assume that Cafferty is more outraged over the abuse of dogs than he is children since I have not even got the courtesy of a reply from him nor has he mentyioned the issue on a segment of Cafferty File since.

Something to Think About!

Child Protective Services is needed as there are parents who truly abuse and/or neglect their children. However, in a number of cases I believe they have gone far beyond their authority in removing children from their homes and caused more damage to the youth than the parents may have.

Here is a story:

INFANT DISCOVERED IN BARN, CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES LAUNCH PROBE

Nazareth Carpenter Being Held On Charges Involving Underage Mother
Bethlehem, Roman-occupied Judea – Authorities were today alerted by a concerned citizen who noticed a family living in a barn. Upon arrival, Child Protective Services personnel, accompanied by police, took into protective care an infant child named Jesus, who had been wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in a feeding trough by his 14-year old mother, Mary of Nazareth.
During the confrontation, a man identified as Joseph, also of Nazareth, attempted to stop the social workers. Joseph, aided by several local shepherds and some unidentified foreigners, tried to forestall efforts to take the child, but was restrained by the police.
Also being held for questioning are three foreigners who claim to be wise men from an eastern country. The INS and Homeland Security officials are seeking information about these, who may be in the country illegally. A source with the INS states that they had no passports, but were in possession of gold and other possibly illegal substances. They resisted arrest, saying that they had been warned by God to avoid officials in Jerusalem and to return quickly to their own country. The chemical substances in their possession will be tested.
The owner of the barn is also being held for questioning. The manager of the Bethlehem Inn faces possible revocation of his license for violating health and safety regulations by allowing people to stay in the stable. Civil authorities are also investigating the zoning violations involved in maintaining livestock in a commercially-zoned district.
The location of the minor child will not be released, and the prospect for a quick resolution to this case is doubtful. Asked about when Jesus would be returned to his mother, a Child Protective Service spokesperson said, “The father is middle-aged and the mother definitely underage. We are checking with officials in Nazareth to determine what their legal relationship is.
Joseph has admitted taking Mary from her home in Nazareth because of a census requirement. However, because she was obviously pregnant when they left, investigators are looking into other reasons for their departure.
Joseph is being held without bond on charges of kidnapping and child endangerment, and threatening a CPS caseworker when the worker attempted to take the infant from the mother.

Mary was taken to the Bethlehem General Hospital where she is being examined by doctors. Charges may also be filed against her for endangerment. She will also undergo psychiatric evaluation because of her claim that she is a virgin and that the child is from God. Psychiatrists at the hospital have told a source that they believe Mary suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The director of the psychiatric wing said, “I don’t profess to have the right to tell people what to believe, but when their beliefs adversely affect the safety and well-being of others – in this case her child – we must consider her a danger to others. The unidentified drugs at the scene didn’t help her case, but I’m confidant that with the proper therapy regimen we can get her back on her feet.”

The Director of Child Protective Services said: “Our caseworkers are interviewing the parents, Mary and Joseph. It has been determined that they are in need of services, and if they refuse to partake of them, we will promptly bring suit to terminate their parental rights.” When asked who will care for Jesus if that happens, the Director said: “We have many suitable foster parents who already want to adopt this beautiful child.”

Mary was deeply distressed when the child was taken away by a CPS caseworker. Mary said: “They didn’t have any right to take him from me!”

A spokesperson for the governor’s office said, “Who knows what was going through their heads? But regardless, their treatment of the child was inexcusable, and the involvement of these others frightening. There is much we don’t know about this case, but for the sake of the child and the public, you can be assured that we will pursue this matter to the end.”

Something to think about!

My Eleventh Foster Home Experience

This is a chapter from my book, which is no longer in print, I wish to share. The book is available in its entirety on my web site for anyone who wishes to read.

This is the story of “My Eleventh Foster Home.” It covers a mere eleven months of my youth (from May 15, 1960 to April 16, 1961). It was the worst year of my life as least as far as my memory serves me:

The stability of four years came to sudden end in May 15, 1960, when I was abruptly removed from the Monshor’s home. I was placed in the Wayne County, Michigan Youth Detention Center. My crime: at age ten I was guilty of not having a family to claim me as their son nor a place to call home.

The Detention Center was to be my home until a new foster home was found. Here I was placed amongst youth offenders who were charged with a wide assortment of crimes. My bed, to start due to overcrowding, would be a thin mattress in the open area of the block.

I am the youngest boy on the block, as well as the smallest. Though I attempted to fight as best I could I was unable to overcome the attacks of older boys. I was repeatedly sexually assaulted.

One day after being assaulted and left naked in a cell, I felt my life, at age ten,  was no longer worth living and attempted to hang myself with a belt. I was discovered before the act could be completed and placed in an isolation cell, where I would remain for two months.

Those responsible for the repeated rapes were never charged or held accountable in any manner.

In late July, another foster home was found…the eleventh in ten years. This is the only foster home experience I have any memory of, other than the three times with the Monshors.

The two homes were as different as night and day. How this home was ever approved as a foster home, I will never know. With the Monshors I was made to feel a part of the family, whereas at this home I feel I was considered a monthly stipend.

My bedroom was a cot out on the enclosed back porch. Because this was also the laundry room it was important that I put everything away first thing each morning. I was actually allowed to sleep in the house one night, when I got sunburned. I slept on the kitchen floor with a fan running to keep me cool. I was given an extra blanket during the winter months. However, it was still cold and most nights I also slept also in my clothes to keep somewhat warm.

I was given one meal a day. This was dinner and it was expected to last me until the following night. I was not allowed to eat this one meal with the family. A plate was prepared for me to take out to the back porch to eat alone.

I was also expected to do my homework out on the porch after dinner then go to bed. The only time I was really allowed in the house was to use the bathroom facilities. I made sure I used them and would be out of the house before others began rising.

When school began in the fall I was expected to walk about a mile to and from school each day…and not through the best of neighborhoods. This was also despite the fact that both their son and daughter had cars and could have driven me to school.

I arrived at school most days quite hungry. This was in the days before school lunch programs. Here, I learned how to steal to take care of my hunger. I was going to a Catholic school and each school day started with mass. I began to arrive at mass a little later than the other students. Most left their lunches in the outer lobby. Because I didn’t want anyone else to go hungry, I would sneak around to different lunches and steal different items so I too would have something to eat during the day. I never got caught. After all these years I still feel bad about having done this.

There was a Catholic church also close to this foster home. I went to mass one Saturday morning. An elderly priest offered the mass. I was the only boy in attendance. The priest stopped me that Saturday and asked me if I lived in the neighborhood and if I would like to be an altar boy for Saturday mass. I answered yes to both questions. Father took me out for breakfast after that mass and each and every Saturday thereafter. I now had a second meal on Saturday and didn’t have to steal it.

I soon developed a habit on Saturdays where I would leave Father and find a way to run off to the Monshors to spend the rest of the day. They welcomed me with open arms. I would leave in time to get back to this home before dark. After a few weeks it was arranged with the Monshors to pick me up after breakfast with Father and then drop me back off at this home, parking a couple blocks away so no one would know. This foster family never asked where I spent my Saturday, though I would be gone all day. They didn’t seem to care.

I remember Christmas 1960 with this family. A few weeks prior to Christmas, I was taken to St. Vincent de Paul Center to get my semiannual allotment of clothes. Those clothes were what I found under the tree for me that Christmas morning; there was nothing from the family.

I do not remember ever having a tender or loving moment with this family. I was not a part of it. I was just the foster care system’s kid for whom they were providing a bed and a meal a day…that was the extent of it. I was to spend 8-1/2 months in this hellhole.

On the night of April 15, 1961, I was told to pack my paper bag, and that I would be leaving in the morning. All I could think of was, “Here we go again.”

The final insult of this foster home came on my final night there. Their son, seventeen at the time, came back on the porch late during the night. He nudged me roughly. When I opened my eyes, light was coming through the porch windows so I could see him. He was standing over me, exposing himself, close to my mouth saying, “Take care of this for me.” I remember kicking out at him and then wailing away at him. I hit him everywhere I possibly could creating noises as he crashed into things. All the time I was yelling to arouse the rest of the house.

Finally his Mother came out to see what was going on. I yelled out, with tears rolling down my face, “He tried to force himself on me sexually.” He called me a liar and said he was just checking on me.

His Mother believed him and not me. She said, “You are a rotten no good for nothing boy, a dirty little boy, a liar. No wonder no one wanted me as I wasn’t fit to have anyone to want me. Good thing you will soon be out of our house, you ungrateful little bastard.” At least she got the bastard part correct.

I sat there in stunned silence and pain with what I heard, while crying now uncontrollably. Then I had my chance. I stood up and decked her son. I got a good hit in as I knocked out one of his front teeth…not bad for a scrawny eleven year old.

Dawn was soon approaching. It couldn’t come fast enough for me; I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I remember being slapped hard across the face and told to go get my bag and get out of their house…to sit on the cold front porch until the case worker came for me. That suited me just fine! When the case worker arrived I ran for the car.

Unbeknownst to me, sometime during the fall of 1960 the court must have determined that my constant moving was proving to be detrimental and that they needed to get me out of Detroit. They realized that wherever they sent me in Detroit, I would find a way to run away and go back to the Monshors.

Maybe they just wanted to admit they had failed me.

Eleven years old and I had already been moved in and out of homes fourteen different times…eight of those moves in just the first five years of life.

Another sign of their failure was that as far back as I could remember, each time a social worker came to where I was staying…it was a “new” social worker. Seems to me first the social workers gave up on me and finally the system.

Dawn April 16, 1961, I was taken from this foster home and placed on a plane with a social worker, not having been told where I was going. After a plane transfer in Chicago, we landed in Omaha, NE and were met by a priest. It was then I learned that I was going to Father Flanagan’s Boys Home; better known as Boys Town, Nebraska. I had never been on a plane before, never been out of Detroit and now I was in some place called Omaha and I was scared to death. The picture taken of me upon arrival at Boys Town I believe clearly shows the unhappiness and fear.

I was so ashamed of what had happened that previous night that I did not share it with the social worker. I have not shared it with anyone as I have remained ashamed until now…forty plus years later. I also have never shared the experiences of the Detention Center until I wrote this book…it has taken this long to heal the shame and pain.

I always felt I needed to keep it as my dark, dirty secret. As I thought of writing this chapter, I finally came to realize I was not the guilty party that night; I was the victim and thus could now forgive myself and let it go. I still obviously remember that woman’s final words to me. I still shudder when I think of this foster home.

I have tried to get as many records from the court as I could. Most of them are stored on microfiche. What has been stated here and the previous chapter was obtained from the application the social worker filled out for my admission to Boys Town.

However, back in 1986, a then current administrator did go through some of the microfiche to see if she could find any behavioral or medical problems on my part which may have precluded me ever being adopted. She found none. She also could not find any reason for so many moves. The only thing she could figure out was that as I grew older I became less acceptable to couples looking to adopt. This problem continues to plague older, foster care children today.

I have very few vivid memories of my childhood. It mostly seems a blur to me except for what I have shared or I have been able to totally block out many experiences.

The move to Boys Town would be the fifteenth move in my eleven years of life.

My web site: http://www.larrya.us