What It’s Like To Be A Foster Child

A couple months ago I was contacted by the author of Attempting Agape to do a guest blog on what it was like for me as a foster kid. She wanted to know what I felt foster parents and the system did both poorly and well and what I would like foster parents to understand. Thought I would share my guest post on what it’s like for me being a foster child.

  As a former foster child I can remember that day when we we’re taken out of our house and the foster care worker telling my brother’s and I we wouldn’t be going back home that day. The first thought in my mind was where we would be going. I was 15 at the time and had heard horror stories about living in a foster home. I was worried.
  That day we were taken to our first home was really awkward. No matter how much someone opens their home to you the awkwardness is still there. It’s coming into another person’s space. We were going to a new home where we didn’t know how they lived or how they did things. Even though all this crazy stuff was going on our temporary foster mom tried to keep things calm and try to keep things as “normal” as possible. My brothers were younger so they had a lot of questions which she was really patient with them and answered the best she could. I also like how they made us feel part of the family. They had other kids which seemed fine with us staying there and seemed to enjoy our company, but I always wondered what they thought of us taking some of their attention. I was scared but I tried not to be “needy”. Even though I was a kid they never met before she still treated my age and with trust. My own parents wouldn’t give me respect, but they gave me a chance. They made sure to let us know that what was going on wasn’t our fault and they were going to make sure that we would stay ok through whatever process we had to go to. They kept me informed with was going with our situation the best they could which helped The time came when we had to move to a new home. They kept their promise and made sure we made it safely. They even checked in on us every now in again with a letter or phone call and I received a congrats letter for my graduation. I will always remember them for how they treated us; I wish we didn’t have to be moved in such a short time.
  I really felt uninformed about the whole process from DFS. I thought we would be put with family and just foster care for a short amount of time. It always seemed that it was a possibility we would go with family, but that day moved further and further and never came. Our next home was a group home called Coyote Hill Christian Children’s Home. They had the facilities to take on many children but keep things still in family setting by having different houses with home parents. These foster parents were always being trained and were awesome to live with during such a rough time. Even those times we acted out they never took it personal and always let us know they cared. The big thing was they always let us know how many people care about us. They also did a good job of teach us to do things on our own. We learned to do our own laundry and were assigned chores to give us some responsibility. They did also correct us when we need it. They were always their for us when we needed to talk, but also taught us that just because your in foster care it isn’t the end of the world. They reminded us we were in control of our future and always supportive. God has a plan for us all, we just have to meet him half way.
  As a foster parent please don’t take everything personal. Sometimes things are just so confusing and it’s hard to know how to let it out. Most foster kids just want to me in a “normal” family life and are cared for. Try to make sure you keep kids in the loop. I always hated feeling like something was going on in my case and I weren’t being told. I understand not everything can be shared but being left in the dark is scary. Do make sure and let us know what there is to look forward to. Being in foster care doesn’t sentence you to anything. You may not have had control of how the story started but you can write the ending.

17 Responses to What It’s Like To Be A Foster Child

  1. This is a great article. I myself am a foster parent, and I can definitely see where you are coming from. I love to hear from kids who have survived the system and can give advice on how we foster parents might be able to make more of a difference.

    • Anonymous says:

      Being a foster parent makes a huge difference and can have a huge impact on a child’s life, whether for the positive or the negative. I lived with too many people to count growing up. I think the two things I would say to any foster parent, is to try to empathize with the child through poor behaviors and realize the child is acting out as a way of processing severe trauma, and to do your best to allow the child to feel like a legit part of your family. It is important for children to know that they BELONG.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I love your words, “Being in foster care doesn’t sentence you to anything. You may not have had control of how the story started, but you can write the ending.” I too grew up as a foster child. My childhood was traumatic, a horror story that no child should have to endure. My life in foster care was full of trauma, never knowing what the next day would bring. Although my life was traumatic, I have not let it define who I am today. I became a successful business woman who put aside work to foster and adopt two little boys that I added to my family of two grown biological children. Today I am the Founder and Executive Director of Fostering SuperStars and the Director of One 4 Life, a mentoring program strictly for foster children.

    You are absolutely correct, “you can write the ending”. God bless you, you have come a long way my friend! http://www.fosteringsuperstars.org

    • I am inspired by your commitment. I was also a foster care kid for a 5yr period in my childhood. I have always wanted to give back as a foster parent. I am 52 yrs now & I think I am at the point that I can make this a reality. I still have to work to suuport myself & I am caring for my 8 yr old grandson too. My concern is how to bring in one child that is compatible with my grandson & will also allow me to continue working on a semi-fulltime basis.

  3. Imafoster says:

    Thanks for the feedback! In the beginning of this project I didn’t realize how much it would help the foster and adoptive parents so I’m glad that I can help people from that background as well. @Miranda thanks for taking the time to help those children in need. @anonymous I’m sorry you had to go through those things and no one should be subjected to it. It’s great that you didn’t let that become an excuse to set back and dwell. Thank you for all you do. I think it’s a great thing to give back and show others your can still be successful in life after abuse.

  4. Lizzie Klingler says:

    Thank you for sharing. I loved reading this. I am trying to share more about my story, but that takes courage. My biological father forbids me from writing anything, even though he has no part in my life at all. He never contributed in a positive way to my life but he forbids me from sharing my story.

    • Imafoster says:

      Thanks for stopping by! I’m sorry that you feel that you cannot share your story. You should be able to, not only because it will help you, but could potentially also help others. There are ways to tell your story without everyone knowing who’s story it is. You could always start an anonymous blog or contribute a anonymous guest post sharing your story.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this…as a foster parent, many of us want to understand more and better..we want to be able to give kids a safe place to land when life blows up on them. I grew up in a home of abuse, but no one picked up on it…so, I was never taken. I really love that last sentence…” Being in foster care doesn’t sentence you to anything. You may not have had control of how the story started but you can write the ending.” Words to live by. Bless you in your journey!

  6. “Thank you” sounds redundant after all the previous comments, but none the less needed. So, thank you. I recently became a “spiritual” foster mom (yay me!) when a young woman, delicate and special I befriended said that is how she seen me. Also, blatantly explaining to me that since she didn’t have a mommy and I didn’t have children that God just worked it out that way :) Can I say “duh!” Lol. I’m starting to believe that even with a particularly special calling as “spiritual” foster parent, that God definitely has worked this out perfectly. She did not have it as nice as you portray your life in working through the system, but this article truly has begun to help me see her world through her eyes.

    My husband and I had already determined in our hearts that we would adopt when the time came .. but this quick?! And by way of a child adopting US?!?!?! I’m seriously tripping over myself at this point reading the words as I type. Again, thank you for helping in allowing me to see a glimpse of her world through your eyes. God bless the foster children and their foster parents! :)

    • Imafoster says:

      Thanks for the feedback! It always encourages to work harder when someone lets me know this has helped them in some way. Unfortunately many foster kids have way worse experiences both before and during foster care then I did. I’m hoping to start trying to work towards setting up something with my former group home to meet with some of the kids and share more stories and insight from different perspectives.

  7. Thank you for sharing your story. You give a wonderful insight into not only your personal experience as a foster child, but all provide an inside view to current and prospective foster carers on the emotions, feeling and thoughts that foster children have. Your commitment to raising awareness and promoting foster care is truly inspirational. Keep it up!

  8. With your permission, I would like to link to your blog post from my blog the90tenproject.com I think it will be helpful for others to read your experience. Please let me know if you are okay with that! Thank you so much.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the info I’m writing a report on adoption and it helped me a lot I think I’m going to get an A+

  10. Anonymous says:

    thx for sharing your story. I am a foster child. I to learned to do my own laundry. I have learned a lot of new things being in care. thank you all foster parents for what you do

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