Open Letter to Foster Youth/Alumni!

A hopeful positive letter to children within the foster care system of America. They are presented with so much negative…it’s time they received a little positive.

Dear Fellow Foster Children/Alumni~

I know you may feel your life is currently in turmoil,
not in a place you really consider your home or
awaiting a final decision on a new place to call home.

You probably at times feel like you are alone in the
world, that no one else has or is going through what
you currently are. You may feel that no one can
possibly understand or know what you are going
through. In most situations your case worker or foster
parents have never been in foster care so you think
“no you don’t know what I am going through.”
In most situations your feelings about others knowing
what you feel, understanding your feeling etc. are
probably true .

I, however, can tell you straight forward that I do
know what you are going through, I do know many of the
things you are feeling and understand them. I
know…because I have been exactly where you are
today. As many young say today, “Been there…done
that!”

I was a foster child from the day of my birth until I
aged out of the system at age eighteen. There is very
little you could share with me that I myself have not
experienced.

I have felt alone, I have felt depressed, I have felt
that no one understood, I have felt no one really
cared about me and yes…I have even wondered if it
was worth living.

You are not as unique as you think you might be. In
matter of fact there are over 12 million who, besides
myself, have been exactly where you are at.

I am here to tell you that you can overcome ALL of
this. If I can…I know you can!

I do not know why you are in foster care. It might be
the same as me…from birth, it might be because of
troubles within your home that requires you to be out
of your home for a short or long term basis, it may
even be because of something that you did wrong for
others to feel you needed a temporary outside the home
situation or finally it might be that you are awaiting
a new family to become your Mom and Dad.

It does not matter why you are in foster care. What is
important is how you come out of foster care.

I know many aspects of the foster care system makes
you feel that you might be of no value, that you can
not be a success and many other negative attributes.

This is absolutely not true !

I felt many times while in foster care and being moved
from one home to another the same feelings many of you
are having. But I have been able to overcome them and
so can you!

YOU are of value! You can hold your head up proudly!
You can be whatever you choose to be!

Yes, even those of you who may have done something
wrong to get placed within the foster system…you can
overcome this mistake, it can become something of the
past. All of us have made a mistake is our lives, even
more than one, but we learned from our mistakes and
moved forward. You can do this as well. You need to
begin making those changes today.

Your foster parents do care about you and what happens
to you, whether you are in your current home for a
short term or a longer time. They would not be foster
parents if they did not care about children and want
to help. No, they are not in foster care for the money
they receive to assist in your care. In many
situations your foster parents will spend far more
than what they receive.

I will not say no foster parent will not do wrong.
Yes, as in every situation in life there may be a bad
one. This is true also with biological/adoptive
parents  as well. If one does neglect you or do you
harm in any way then you must report it. Please make
sure any allegation you make however is in fact true .
Do not make allegations just because of how they may
have felt it necessary to discipline you one day and
you get angry at them. Never, ever make a false
allegation.

I know most of you wish that you were not be in
foster care. That you would be home either with your
Mom and Dad or an adoptive family. That may or may not
come some day. You must make the very best of your
situation. I ended up aging out of the system. I never
had a permanent Mom and Dad all the time I was growing
up. Despite this I hope I have become a person any Mom
and Dad could have been proud of. That is my hope for
each and everyone of you as well.

I know you can do it! Study hard, work hard, know that
you have self-worth not only to yourself but to others
and you can reach for the highest of goals, don’t let
anyone convince you otherwise!

I survived eighteen years in foster care…you can to.

I got an education…you can to.

I made something of my life…you can to.

Today I serve on international Board of Directors for two worldwide
non profits working to improve the lives of youth around the globe.

I made it…if I can…I know you can!

Peace,
A Fellow Foster Care Alum

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60 Years Ago Today!!

Sixty years ago today, in the early hours of
the morning, a young nineteen year old unwed woman
gave birth to her first child…a son.

She spent most of her pregnancy in a home for unwed
mothers as her father would not, as he said, allow a
bastard child in his house.

She was uneducated and unable to provide even the
basic needs for her newborn son.

She did what she thought would be best for
him…because she loved him. She placed him lovingly
for adoption within hours after his birth.

She would not learn for thirty-six years that her
hopes and dreams of a loving home for her son never
happened.

The son instead spent the first year of life in a
hospital nursery and also the nursery of the same home
for unwed mothers his mother had spent her pregnancy.

Despite being a white, blond, hazel eye, healthy
baby…no one came forward to adopt him.

Those first days in a nursery turned out to be
eighteen years of being moved from one foster home to
another or institution…fourteen moves in all.

During those years he would attend many schools, never
have long time friends. He at a time would find his
bed on a back porch and be forced to steal food from
other children at school to dampen his hunger pains
from being fed only one meal a day. He would face the
horror of sexual abuse at the tender age of ten. He would
feel he was worthless and attempt to end his pain
and life before age 11.

Somehow, with the help of a few mentors, hope and a
deep inner faith this baby boy was able to overcome
the years of his childhood. He received a college
education and began a professional career.

At age of thirty-one he suffered a massive heart
attack. He could not answer the doctor’s question of;
“What’s your family medical history?” He was
embarrassed and ashamed for as far as he knew…he had
no family to call his own.

He began a search for the person who he thought would
be able to provide some answers…the mother who
lovingly relinquished him thirty-two years earlier.

The search took four long years. It was a painful,
trying and at times a frustrating journey as he met
numerous obstacles along the way.

He remembers vividly the message left on his answering
machine on April 17, 1986…”This is your mother!”
They would speak a few hours later…a phone call that
would last for hours. His spine still tingles and eyes
tear up as he remembers that day now nineteen years
later.

He met his mother not many months later. It
unfortunately was just the beginning to what turned
out to be a very strained relationship at best. He,
however, had his questions answered.

That relationship ended tragically a mere twelve years
later. His mother, on her own accord this time,
rejected her son and wished him dead as she could not
bear learning her son…her first born…was gay.

Despite several attempts at reconciliation by the son;
mother and son were never to speak or see each other
again in her lifetime. She passed away just shy of
three years after turning her son away.

The son, after time, was able to forgive his mother
and to thank her for not only giving him life but
making the decision she did on the day of his birth.
Despite how his childhood was; it had been the correct
decision.

He also was able to search, find and meet his father
once. His father did not wish for a relationship and
his father passed away four years after he found him.

His half siblings, from both his mother and father’s
side, except one rejected him as their brother. The
one remaining sibling also rejected him after their
mother’s death.

The one foster family whom he considered to be Mom and
Dad, even after he was on his own, are both long
passed away.

So today is this person’s sixtieth birthday.
What should be a joyous occasion remains a painful day
as it always has been. It brings forth those memories
of a childhood he cares not to remember. Acceptance by
his new found mother as well as the rejection.

He has in recent years found and met extended family.
They have welcomed him with open and loving arms.

He will receive well wishes from friends, extended
family and others. However, in many ways he will still
feel alone. There will never be birthday wishes from a
mother, father, brothers or sisters…and his heart
breaks.

Despite those painful memories he moves forward. The
hope and faith that sustained him through these
sixty years continues to sustain him.

Yes, today is that son’s birthday. I quietly wish
him a Happy Birthday, though it may not be.

I know each detail of this person’s life…because I
am that son born sixty years ago.

Yes, today I am sixty! The wounds of the
passed have in many cases healed, however, there are
many that just scabbed over waiting to be broken open
anew…they will never heal.

I however once again…thank my mother and father for
this beautiful gift called life!