I entered foster care at the age of 16 with my 4 younger brothers that were 6 years old and younger. Our parents had serious drug problems and were very violent to each other and we didn't have a lot of money. We lived in cars, shelters, friends and family's houses. DHS said our house was “un-live-able," which it very much was. It was always dirty, and there was never any food. I became a parent to my brothers naturally, so I was forced to grow up quick.
When we finally went into foster care, our lives turned upside down. Me being the oldest meant that I knew everything that was going on; this was good and bad. I asked questions often and went to every court date. We eventually went back home but sadly didn't stay for long. It was later ruled that we couldn't ever go back with our parents.
My biggest fear was my brothers and I all being separated into different households and this scared me to hell. My brothers and I had different fathers so we were able to go live with their grandparents. This wasn't our happy ending yet.. at least not mine. I didn't get a long with my brothers grandparents very well.. and I always felt alone. I didn't have rules or obedience or any attention what so ever.. after almost a year DHS finally decided that it wasn't the place for me anymore. My brothers grandma agreed and said I was to be out of her house by the end of the week.
My amazing caseworker and my only true friend through this whole season was able to find me a temporary place to live. During this time I maintained a 3.0 grade average and yes still graduated highschool. And yes even was accepted into college. So I was soon to be leaving to live in dorms but what I needed was a place to live for a month. I met a foster family who didn't normally take teenagers and said yes to me staying with them. I didn't know where they lived, I didn't know names or who they were. I was scared and nervous. I was able to meet them and I was to move in the next day. I was unsure as to what was going to happen next. Would they like me? Would we get a long ? Were they good people?
This day of august 3rd changed my life forever. This foster family loved me from day one. A love like no other. They opened my eyes to "family". They showed me that there does not have to be abuse and yelling and hunger. Life could be happy and from that day on and even after college they were my family. It took 4 years but I was eventually adopted even though I was 21 years old, because it didn't matter when it happened. And no, we didn't need a piece of paper to make it official. But it was proof that I found my forever family. My brothers were later adopted by their grandparents and we now get a long so much better and I talk with my brothers almost everyday. I later learned that this was meant to happen and I am thankful it did.
A foster family can change a life. They can give love to a child who didn't get it from the beginning. They can give hope and acceptance. It's so great to hear the perspective from a foster family but sometimes it may help to hear it from a foster child. I hope it's okay that I shared this. And I hope that I can show how important foster care is. I know that it is hard to get attached to that child but i promise that each child is feeling the same no matter how young or old. And this small feeling of attachment means so much and can make such a big difference! #Everychild deserves to find their forever family♡ Thank you for reading.
- Written by Shyla
Shyla is 23 years old and currently works for DHS. She wants to be a social worker for teens in foster care.