A Note to Present/Former Foster Youth

The note below was shared on Facebook with the Foster Care Alumni of America Group. It was such an amazing, awesome, heartfelt article that I requested permission to reprint it here on my blog. It expresses so many of the thoughts and heartaches I experienced while in foster care but also shares the positive thought that one can make it no matter the obstacles they may have to over come.

by: Sunday Koffron

Bad stuff happens to good people, it is not fair but it is true. You deserved better than you got. From your original parents, from your workers and from the system, they let you down. That is not your fault. You did not make this mess you are currently sitting in, nope you didn’t. Where you are at is not the wrong place. It is exactly where they dropped you off and left you to your own devices. I would say you are exactly where you would be expected to be. But the truth is if you are not currently incarcerated, homeless, and pregnant by 20, or have lost custody of your own kids, you have already beaten the statistics. Got a job? You are a raging frigging success! I commend you, that is no small feat for folks like us.

Some of us have had it worse than others. Some of us go on to be academically successful; some have great success in their careers. Some of us beat all reasonable expectations by still being alive at 25. What I am saying baby, is that you are ok. I know you don’t believe me now but it is true.

Growing up I was lucky that I had staff and social workers who had come through the system, and they would tell me that I had the power over my own life, that things would get better and that I could do anything I put my mind to. *cough* *choke* *gag* oh yeah, *eye roll* they just didn’t understand what it was like to live in my head. They must not have been as damaged as I was in the first place. They must not have lost as much as I lost. They must not have had to resort to the kind of stuff I did to survive. They just didn’t get what it was like to be me. I just knew they were all wrong about me. I was not like them.

I cut, I drank (I blacked out), I fought, I slept around, I couch surfed for years and I did a lot of really stupid things. I hitch-hiked a crossed this country several time trying to find someplace – any place I belonged. I loved people, hurt people and I made many mistakes. It wasn’t pretty for a while, but I survived, I thrived. …And so will you my sweet, sensitive, wounded little sister (or brother). I can see those eyes rolling now. I know you think I am wrong. I don’t know what it was like to live in your head. I don’t know what it was like to live your life or feel your pain. And I don’t know exactly. But what I do know is that our lives, our pasts, and the amount of pain we have been able to withstand have left us uniquely qualified for survival. You won’t catch me shedding a single tear because the garage door open broke.

There is a lot left here for you to do. You are the voice for our younger foster kin, our little brothers and sisters who are stuck in a broken system, most of whom will find themselves out in the cold and on their own the day they turn 18, just like you and just like me. Your voice can help advocate for them. Your voice can help change that. You have a book to write, a song to sing, a meal to serve, a hand to hold or a billboard to paint. You are crazy strong and foster care gave you a crazy powerful will.

No, you didn’t make that mess, it’s not fair but I know you are capable of cleaning it up. I know you are fully capable of doing anything that you put your mind to. And I know that you have a lot of good left to do in this life. Keep on keeping on, I have high expectations for you.

 

4 Responses

  1. I am so happy that this note spoke to you. I had originally written this in response to the struggles one of our younger foster kin was facing. I wanted them to know that so many of us have been out there in the wilderness alone and survived – thrived. Thank you so much for passing it on, I hope that it can serve as a comfort and inspiration to others. We are not nearly as alone in our plight as we think we are.

    Sunday Koffron Please Stand Up

  2. this made me cry because i was in foster care and i became a mom and eventually they stole my kids when i only had a teen and toddler, gave back the teen but not the toddler who was adopted to keep him safe from crazy father i’d dumped BEFORE they took the kids. Now I am in it again since my current man and I had two kids and CPS got a bunch of service providers to all say we are “unable to parent long-term” and rather than lose all rights we had to relinquish so we could still see our beautiful kids. It’s been over a week now and I have relived the hell that brought me into care, the hell that led to the first kids going in, the hell of the first relinquished son, and now the hell of another daughter and son that were in no danger and need not have been relinquished at all. I realize my past was horrid, but my future with the love of my life lives on whether they try to kill it or not. We can find a way to deal with this loss. mine is here: http://oughtabe.webs.com THERE OUGHTA BE A LAW

    I hope you come see, and join if you like. I’d love your input there.

    Robin Joy Wirth
    redshadow43@hotmail.com

  3. You should submit and article to the foster care blog carnival. It can be anything about foster care and the foster care system. If you’re interested check out http://www.imafoster.com/p/blog-carnival.html

  4. thanks, i’ll have to think about it tho. right now i’m a few months into the loss and i’m growing more angry instead of accepting so far. It doesn’t help that the courts have not bothered to make sure we have the info of the parents so visits and communication can begin.

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