What It’s Like Going Into Foster Care
Hopefully I can give you some insight about what it is like going into foster care and the sort of the mindset I had at the time. As you can imagine going into foster care I had no idea what to think or how the system worked. In the past I had heard horror stories of what happens to kids in foster care and group homes. I was even told of a close relative at the time that took on foster kids just for the money. They said she would take on the harder kids to deal with because they paid more money. I was told she didn’t care for the kids and didn’t treat them very well.
When we were placed into foster care I only thought we would be there short amount of time. We did have relatives that lived in another state that I though would be able to help us. I thought going into foster care was just going to be part of a short process. I felt like this would be sort of an investigating stage to gather evidence to justify why we were taken from the home. I really felt uninformed about what was going to happen and just kind of went along with things. The first place that we were going was what they called an emergency placement. This is just a temporary placement until going to more a foster home. As we were waiting at the DFS office to go stay with this new family I prepared myself mentally for what ever was about to take place. I expected the worst. Between everything we had been through, going to stay with people that we didn’t know, and having no control over the situation I was really on edge. While I didn’t show or act it, I mentally prepared myself for any “attack”. I had know idea the situation my brothers and I were going to be placed in.
As we were picked up and taken to our temporary home I would describe myself as hyper vigilant. I noticed we were going a little bit out in the country which did worry me a bit. I felt that if something went bad it would be hard to get to help. My parents were well-known business owners in a smaller community and how do I know that she didn’t know them in some way. My dad’s old occupation put him in a position to meet a lot of different people. As we got settled in and met the family that we were going to be staying with I did calm down a bit in stages. I was a bit intimidated by male authority since the fights with my dad but the dad of the family was mild mannered. Each new day, each new situation brought anxiety. I was living in a place that I didn’t know the people they interacted with, their routines, pet peeves, or really what I should be doing. I didn’t want to burden them so I tried to stay out of the way. They did a good job of incorporating us into the family and they way they live. They tried to inform us and kind of gave us the run down on things. It helped that they went over rules and expectations up front. It took me a few days to let my guard down and really relax.
Going into foster care we just had the clothes on our backs. Out parents later brought in some of our clothes from the house. I remember not having a few things or not enough of some to last. I don’t know if it was on purpose that they did that or not. I remember I went without a belt for a while and had to hold up my pants or fold the waist over. I didn’t have anything to shave so my 15 year old face was patchy for a while. If someone who provided emergency placement went out and bought new things for kids they would be broke fast so I had to wait on these things. Finally after getting some voucher from DFS our new caregiver was able to take us and get us some of the things that we needed. Even then it was hard to ask or tell her what I needed. I didn’t want to come off needy or trivial.
Once we got settled in it was time to go. They said we would be going to a group home for foster kids. Another new place with new people. Another scary transition and not knowing the road ahead.