Tag Archives: what is it like
What does chocolate cereal have to do with getting your kids out of foster care? It doesn’t specifically, it’s an analogy that was given to me by a therapist while in foster care to help me understand the situation with my parents and why we weren’t going home (much to me relief). Let’s say your feeding your child chocolate cereal and one day DFS comes in and takes your kids because chocolate cereal is bad for kids. Now you and I both know that while chocolate cereal may not be the healthiest choice isn’t going to kill them and they should be able to eat it. As a parent though, are you going to argue your point, say that chocolate cereal is not bad and you did nothing wrong, while your child is sitting in foster care? As a parent myself I would apologize and promise to never feed my kids chocolate cereal again so I could get them back. It’s not about if I’m right or wrong at that point, it’s about getting your kids back at home with you. At least it should be.
Some parents just can’t admit they were wrong. As with many problems, you must admit that you have a problem before you can fix it. Why? If you don’t think it was a problem then are you going to make sure it really happens again? Many people who get caught in something and don’t come to the realization they are wrong, then repeat the behavior, learning from getting caught only how to hide it better. That can be deadly in regards to child abuse. Also why maybe place a child into a situation where it may happen again? I wouldn’t bet a child’s well being just to give a parent a second chance without them showing that it’s not going to happen again.
Another thing I’ve seen is parents upset because they don’t like DFS agreeing or accepting their “lifestyle” or who’s in their lives. Too many parents chose drugs or partners over their children. If DFS doesn’t like your new boyfriend are you really going to argue that he’s not who DFS thinks he is off criminal records or bad behavior or do what it take to get back your kids? You’s think it would be an easy answer and it is, people just don’t always choose whats best for their kids. Obviously this doesn’t go for every parents with kids in foster care, but let’s be honest they make us the majority. How do you get your kids out of foster care? Accept your wrongs, make improvements and put your kids before you.
One of the difficult things about being a foster kid is seeing the kids around you have things that you may not have or even have the opportunity to get. It could be a variety of things from cool clothes, new shoes, the latest video game or even having a pet. Some of it may have to do with the rules of where you’re staying or you don’t have parents to buy that stuff. I recognized early on that if I wanted those things then I had to go and get them for myself. I realized really quickly that I was going to have to work harder than most of my peers to get some of the things they had and to even be successful. I had to get a job, but getting a job isn’t the easiest thing to do as a foster kid.
First off there’s that foster care stigma that follows you. I lived in a small town, about 180 people, so new people are recognized quickly. My foster home was well known and everybody knew I was in foster care. You may live in a larger area or you may not look like a foster kid, but I’m sure it will come up at some point. Unfortunately many people negative preconceived ideas when it comes to foster kids. As an employer many think troubled kid, stealing, issues in life, not being reliable or not having a reliable ride. A couple of those may even be true. My first boss told me after I had worked there that she wouldn’t have hired me without the recommendation of the superintendent that I had gotten. She had preconceived ideas of the employee I would because I was a foster kid, and it wasn’t a good one.
Speaking those preconceived ideas of a foster kid, the not having a ride part can be a problem. It’s not easy to get your license as a foster kid and you must have money to buy a car. If you think about it the order of how you have to do things really works against you. Luckily I had a situation where I worked close and had someone to take me. Many kids don’t have this option. One thing you can learn in life really quick as a foster kid, most people you have to interact with in the real work world CAN’T care about your situation or that you’re in foster care. It’s bad for business. An employer isn’t going to keep you around if you continually can’t get to work on time just because you’re having foster kid problems.
It’s a good lesson to learn, but also a tough one. In life, foster kids are going to be babied. When that water bill comes in you can’t tell them your life story and get a pass. As a foster kid, if your want to be successful you may have to work a little harder than the next person. When you do get to that point where you’ve reached your success, it feels that much better looking back on where you came from.
To many kids turning 16 is one of the most exciting days of their lives. With turning 16 comes getting a driver’s license. It’s the license of freedom almost every teenager looks forward to getting. Hours of driving with family members to get enough hours under the belt finally paying off. Unfortunately for many foster kids it’s harder to obtain the goal of getting that freedom. For many foster kids turning 16 does not mean getting a driver’s license.
When I was placed into foster care the summer I was getting ready to turn 16. I didn’t have my permit at that point. My parents used it against me and used it in favor of their abuse. They would talk about how all the other kids would see me riding the bus while they were driving. Pretty soon I would be the oldest on the bus. I’m sure they also used that to control from me being able to leave the house as well. They said I didn’t behave well enough to get my permit and would have to earn it. The problem was no matter what I could never do good enough to earn it.
After I settled into our foster home I was told that I would eventually be able to get my permit. I had to wait for the proper documents from my caseworker but was eventually allowed to take the permit test. I hadn’t had a chance to read the permit book yet but I decided to take the test anyway just because I was so excited. I eventually passed the permit test after having the time to study.
Just because I had my permit didn’t mean I could start practicing driving. I lived in a group home and I wasn’t allowed to drive any of the vehicles. It wasn’t a typical family situation where we had a family car. There could be up to 8 foster kids in the home and maybe foster parent bio kids so we had 15 passenger vans. I knew I had to buy a car and be able to pay for insurance if I wanted to be able drive. Finding a job as a foster kid can sometimes be pretty tough for a few reasons but I eventually found a job and started putting back money. After a lot of work and putting most of my money in savings, I found a pretty nice care that I could afford. Next came finding an insurance company. Since I was a foster kid I didn’t have a parents insurance to be added to. I had to start my own plan which I remember costing me $189 a month not including the money I had to put down! Now I had a car, insurance and a job. Still, I was not able to drive.
I had to take a driving class as one of the stipulations before driving. This was for a couple of reasons. The main reasons being it was a requirement from my group home and I needed a certain number of driving hours before being able to take the driving test. Another good reason to take a driving class is because you get a discount on your insurance. After passing the class and getting my driving hours in with the instructor, I was able to take the driving test. I was extremely anxious with having the person ride along with me watching me every move. It caused me to mess up and I failed my first time around. My second time around was a little better, but it took me a third time to pass the test. Finally I could drive!
I do want to point out that even though it took me three times to pass, I have 0 accidents and 0 tickets. I had many obstacles on my path to getting my driver’s license. Many foster kids face the same situations often facing more difficulty than I did.