You’re Nothing More Than a Foster Child!

This was sent to me by a youth who has been in foster care for the past 7 years and will age out next March with no family or support network to go to. It breaks my heart that things I expereinced and thoughts I had over 40 years ago remain a constant in so many of the lives of youth in care today. Society should hang their heads in shame.

UPDATE: I have just received notice that the young man who sent me this is NOT the author of the article. I apologize to the author and wish to give her proper credit. The actual author is Catherine Daniels, a young woman who spent years in foster care. I am sorry I did not verify if the young man who sent this to me was in fact the author.



Being the last person to sit down to the table for dinner because you aren’t the biological or adopted child… You’re nothing more than a foster child.

Watching the other children get new shoes/clothes/toys but you have to wait on a “check” because you aren’t the biological or adopted child… You’re nothing more than a foster child.

Getting left behind while the rest of the house goes on vacation or visits a major theme park because you aren’t the biological or adopted child… You’re nothing more than a foster child.

Not wanting to unpack your bags and put things away because you never know when you might be up and moved again because you aren’t the biological or adopted child… You’re nothing more than a foster child.

Sleeping on the couch or porch, with storage bins and trash bags storing your belongings with no personal space to call your own because you aren’t the biological or adopted child… You’re nothing more than a foster child.

When you move you don’t have a suitcase as other children but rather garbage bags because you aren’t the biological or adopted child… You’re nothing more than a foster child.
Not having surgery your doctor recommended because it needs to go through a board for approval before it can be done because you aren’t the biological or adopted child… You’re nothing more than a foster child.

Getting a CD, book, and candy bar as christmas while the rest of the children got DVD players, Walkmans, bikes, etc because you aren’t the biological or adopted child… You’re nothing more than a foster child.

Running away, crossing county, state or even country lines and having no one look for you or report you missing because you aren’t the biological or adopted child… You’re nothing more than a foster child.

Having someone start to care about you, and start to form an attachment only to be up and moved simply because someone decided a different home would be better for you for God knows what reason because you aren’t the biological or adopted child… You’re nothing more than a foster child.

Having a school refuse to re-enroll you for the seventh time in ONE school year. You’re nothing more than a foster child. 

Having doctors offices leave your address blank because it changes so many times. You’re nothing more than a foster child.

Not making friends because you never know when you’ll be up and moved.
You’re nothing more than a foster child.

Refusing to take school pictures because you know you won’t be there at the end of the year. You’re nothing more than a foster child.

Hardening your heart to attachments because you know how quick they disappear. You’re nothing more than a foster child.

When one lives for years within the foster care system, experiences numerous moves and maybe even things worse than that because “You’re nothing more than a foster child”…how can society expect one to form relationships and attachments or even trust others?

This is the life of one who is “Nothing more than a foster child!”


15 Responses

  1. I fear this happening to my boys. They are 7, 5, and 4 now and who will adopt all three? I WOULD…but I know and love them. I HATE CPS!

  2. I am a foster parent and or kids are our family.They get the same as my grandkids or more. They have new toys and cloths and are told they ar eloved.The system betrays these kids all to often We ahve 3 that we want to adopt but there is an inheritance that may stop it and the youngest will have to wait 13 yrs till he is 18 for anyone to do something during this time they can move him and separate his brothers form him again.
    Where is the right if people love and care and igf theyw ere my grandkids they would already be mone after almost 3 yrs/

  3. God willing, my little boy will never feel this. He knows no other family and IS part of our family. In Australia we can’t adopt foster children, as a general rule and I HATE the title ‘foster’. These kids are a real and as important as any other child. My heart bleeds for the girl who has lived this life, and for many more like her. You are NEVER ‘JUST a foster child’, at least not to me.

  4. This mentality just breaks my heart! These innocent children deserve so much better. We treat our foster children as true members of the family for as long as they are with us.

  5. Wow! That was really eye-opening!

  6. I am reading this article and tears are coming down my face. I am 21 years old and have been out of the system for 3 years now.

    I have no mom or dad. My mom after 5 years of mental and physical abuse on me and my younger brother and sister left us at a motel when I was 10 years old. Since then, I was placed in foster homes (many) while there my brother,sister and myself were abused daily mentally and physically. I was depressed and emotionally sick my younger brother and sister too.
    As I am writing this, I get completely sick –
    I live in Nevada now (im 21) I work 2 jobs and rent a room from a stranger.
    Every month I send 200.00 to my younger brother to pay for his rent. He is now 18. I struggle every day to get out of bed and make the amount of money I need to barely survive. I often feel like my life is not worth living. I barely make ends meet and I’m depressed thinking about the future for myself and my brother who have noone to help us.

    Why? Why did our mom do this to us? Why and when will it end?

  7. please email me if you know of any programs to assist my brother and i –

  8. I am a foster parent, and while I have tried very hard to treat the children in my care the same as my own, their stories of past homes are often heartbreaking and the things on this list do occur. Maybe not every child experiences every single one of them, but they’ve all happened to someone, somewhere, in foster care. And even the best of us can’t prevent everything (like the delay in doctor visits; paperwork and red tape bind us everywhere). But if children are removed from their homes, shouldn’t they be placed in a system that takes BETTER care of them?? Seems logical to me…

  9. We are applying to become foster parents, and I’m glad many of the rules for licensing are there, such as each kid (pairs in limited situations) having a real bedroom with a door and a bed.

    I would hope that parents for whom the wait for the state check makes it difficult to provide new things, would realize that’s an appropriate use of a credit card–to pay now for something that is a certain reimbursement later.

    I read in one of the intro to foster care documents about how “if you can’t bring a child placed with you along on a vacation, respite care is available.” I realize money and planning is often an issue, especially these days, but I can’t imagine leaving out any child living in our home–hey, camping in a county park is a vacation with room for all!

    The point about carrying belongings in plastic bags is well-taken, and we always seem to have some gently-used extra gym bags and suitcases, so if/when the time comes for a placement to end, we’ll make sure they can leave with both love and in style.

    We’re ready to advocate with the schools, health care providers, etc. But I am a bit nervous about the red tape issue. But we can be pretty persistent and to the point.

  10. This breaks my heart. We just got back from vacation with our bios and fosters! Three days before we left the caseworker called me and asked if we were sure we wanted to take the foster children..she had lined up respite in case we changed our minds! She wanted us to have time to ourselves–ad this is AFTER I went to court to get permission. I told her no way–if they didn’t go we didn’t go. She finally relented but it would have been EASIER to leave them–what’s wrong with that picture. I also have one leaving soon and his stuff is packed into rubbermaid totes. The same caseworker told me to save my totes and not t “waste my money”. GRRRRR!

  11. This is what it’s like. Seriously painful, empty, lonely, and damaging. Thank you for sharing that. I was in foster care in Washington state from the ages of 6-18. I can relate, and I am now getting involved in organizations that are helping to improve the system. I do agree though, that the more we tell our stories, more people will wake up and realize the pain and agony of losing loved ones and family. We need to speak out and help eachother. There are Foster Care Alumni organizations like Foster Care Alumni of America and they are making a serious effort at helping us form our own family, as alumni of care. We have different stories but they are so similar. The stories of loss and pain are so similar. I encourage everyone who reads this man’s blog to be moved to act in any small way to make life better in our communities so children don’t have to be moved out of their homes. We need to care about eachother! Only then can healing begin.

  12. That is exactly how foster may not think u are doing it but you are.foster care is depressing,sad lonely and stressin.they always say that they gonna help you and that you dont have to worry.thats not 21,aged out and have nuthin…..i encourage parents that if they have their kids luv them.foster parents……treat us the way u treat ur own..we people to

  13. I was in foster care for nine plus years and aged out eight years ago. I read this and started thinking of just how many of those things literally happen to me and of course hundreds of other things.

    I am all for rules but as I read some of the responses I might add that rules were meant to be ignored, slid around and of course simply not enforced. I stopped or lost track in counting the many homes I was in but it is safe to say around twenty-five five or take one or two. So for example must have a bed and a door was a joke for several places. There were two that had rooms but I was not good enough for the room so it was only my room if they were being checked up on. Doors were useless to the many peepholes that I just stopped caring to find and cover up after awhile. I wonder what it is like now that today children have to deal with wireless webcams.

    Nothing in the system will ever get fixed as long as so many in the system feel so great for helping children. Until all the people in the system, the foster parents, social workers and even the schools stop looking at the others in the system as saints and realize that most are not even close. Until the whole institution itself stops feeling sorry for itself and validating each other’s selfless narcissistic feelings that any change can possible come. The sad part is we need these people and they are better then nothing.

    I lest the foster care system not as a human being but as a mere object as it is easier for them for a foster child to be reduced to an object. They do not have to feel guilty about not dealing with something that has a soul.

  14. I was a foster my whole life – homes and group homes and institutions because no one wanted me….

    My life was always lived in a bag – never knowing when I would get shoved off to the next place…and to this very day…46 years of age – is it any wonder I don’t really plant roots or unpack bags???

    I dont trust, I don’t function with other people as ‘normal’ people do – I have a tight fist and a tighter heart…

    You’ll have to read my book when it comes out one of these days….”Bag Lady”…

    Whats YOUR bag?

  15. can i post this? i am a case worker for our local child welfare and this made me cry because it is so true. i need things like this to remind me (like i could forget) what my kids on my case load go through. I do everything i can to save placements and really listen to my kids.

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