At the bottom of this post is a short article that describes, through a foster child’s eyes, 3 catalyst moments for a child in foster care.
Here a response to the article from Arrow’s own Carolyn Bishop, Vice President of Texas Programs.
I learned a very valuable lesson about the first item of this list, “Listen to my side of the story”.
When I was at Catholic Charities, we accepted an emergency placement of a teenage boy who lost his parents that day from a murder/suicide. The child had a middle class upbringing, never in care, etc. He had relatives that wanted a relationship, but none able to really have him come LIVE with him. He was at our shelter for about two weeks, and it was close to the holidays. He was the oldest we had at that time, so he was around a ton of little kids. This is difficult when you have been the only child.
We went to his Circle of Support, which was held at the court house. Anyways, he was going to be able to spend Thanksgiving with one of his aunt’s for the day, and then the option of respite came up with a foster family. I spoke up FOR him and said I did not think it was right to move him, put him in respite, let him go to his aunt’s and then have to come back to the shelter if it didn’t work out (he was close to his time up with us). A conversation ensued..
Finally, he sat up in his chair, and said to me “With all due respect, Ms. Carolyn… I don’t like the shelter. I want to be in a foster home”. I had not even ASKED him – just spoke for him. It broke my heart that day.. and I try so hard now to listen more.
Here is the article:
Three Moments That Helped Me in Foster Care
I never knew a single kid who ever wanted to be in foster care. No kid is proud to be born into a broken home. Then you add foster care on top of trauma, which creates a litany of other problems such as: exposure of family secrets, a separation of siblings, lack of certainty or stability, disruptive family interruptions, spotty educational records, and a village of workers who don’t communicate with each other.
However, looking back, there were times when people made a significant difference in a positive way. These acts of kindness didn’t take a lot of time either. Big or small, those moments became memories that helped me cope in the midst of the worst years of my life.
1. Asked for My Side of the Story.
I was 14-years-old when I was crying my eyes out at some Dust Bowl courthouse. My absentee social worker had just threatened to separate me from my younger sister for a “failure of placement.”
We weren’t kicked out, but we asked to be removed from an unstable foster home at the time our biological father came back into our lives. I had a great school record and was on a sports team. All to say, I was virtually ignored by the passive court reporters and lawyers until I had a probation officer ask me what was wrong. I told her about how I was powerless against my social worker’s decision to separate my sister and me, and she suggested I write a thorough letter to the judge, explaining my side of things.
I took her advice,* the judge launched an investigation that concluded a separation was not warranted. Because someone asked for my side of the story being weaved in the courtroom, I felt empowered to explain myself. This act kept my sister and I together.
2. Took A Genuine Interest.
I was 15-years-old, slouching in sweats at a receiving home classroom, hating the world when Mr. Severson, the head teacher, asked me about my interests.
“Sleeping. Dying. That’s about it!”
Mr. Severson didn’t let up, and eventually……(read full article HERE)