From On Their Own By Martha Shirk and Gary Stangler
The following story is taken from the book On Their Own, a collection of stories about young people who are aging out of the foster care system. The following segment is from the story of Monica, in foster care since age 8 because of her mother's abuse and neglect. In February 1998, when Monica was sixteen and a half, Mrs. Romero (her foster mother) discovered a boy in her bedroom. She threw him out and she told Monica that she was free to leave, too.
The next day, Monica ran away... Monica's caseworkers decided that both Monica and Mrs. Romero would benefit from a respite (time off) from each other, and they found her another foster home. But within days of moving in, Monica disappeared again. This time, she hid out in her mother's house. Monica was going through a phase common to many adolescents in foster care. Until recently, she had been so angry with her mother that she rarely spoke to her when they met for a supervised visit. "One time, when she was at my grandma's, she told me to go to bed." Monica recalls. "I told her, 'Don't you ever tell me what to do. You're not raising me. It's your fault we're in foster care. It's your fault we're unhappy. It's your fault Emily is the way she is. How could you let this happen?" But now, as she approached adulthood, she wanted to have more contact with her mother than her caseworker would allow. "I didn't want to be in a foster home any more," Monica says. "All I wanted was for my mom and me and my sisters to be able to live together again and be happy. I wanted us to be a family again."
The caseworker tracked Monica to her mother's house. She told her that the court would never permit her to live with her mother, who had lost her parental rights. Monica returned reluctantly to the new foster home. Now that she was an older teen, why do you think Monica experienced a change of heart towards her mother? Do you think that older teens should be able to make their own decisions about going back to live with bio-parents? Tell us what you think by clinking on the "add new comment" link below