I first entered the foster care system when I turned 15, but even before that I was in and out of foster care. At first I was scared because I didn’t know what was going to happen to me, and that they might send me back home and forget all about me. After meeting all of the staff at Child Protective Services, I realized that they had saved me from the terrifying situation that I was enduring at home. Going through court hearings and having to deal with encounters with my mother, I thought I was never going to make it through. I thought everyone else was going to leave me like my mother did. My social worker was my saving grace and has helped me through the years in all of my ups and downs. I did however have to go through many scary times on my own.
Going from foster home to foster home was not easy at all. Starting new schools every 3 to 6 months, having to make new friends and then leaving them, and constantly being put in new homes was always a struggle. Most of the foster homes that I went to were out of county that I lived in. As a result of all of the moving around, my grades in school were always low. I couldn’t focus on trying to get good grades when I had to worry about being shifted around all the time, and leaving my new-found friends was always at the top of my list of worries.
When I got to new homes, the foster parents were usually very friendly for a short period. Once I became part of the integrated group however, it seemed that the foster parents had favorites, and I was never privileged enough to be one of them. The other children too, were tough to get along with, with the exception of a great few. I really needed someone to love and care about me and was never fortunate enough to find it in the system. I always think back and wish there had been a foster home in the town I was from so that I would have felt more comfortable in my surroundings.
I now volunteer with CASA and am hopeful that I will be able to bring to light the plight of children just like me who have to be sent away from the town they know and love. Although there will always be the fear of moving to a strange home, having a bearing on their surroundings and continuing in a familiar school will help foster children to deal with their situations more effectively.