Dear Foster Kid,
I may not know your life story or what you do on a daily basis. I don’t know what triggers you or what makes you laugh. We may have a completely different life experiences but we do share one commonality. At some point in our lives we were put in the child welfare system. I call myself a foster care alumni because I didn’t just graduate from high school, I graduated from foster care. I tried my best to complete my assignments, participate in class, and have a social life. At the same time I was going to court hearings, case plan reviews and therapy appointments. I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. We have experienced obstacles that many adults or peers will never experience in their lifetime. Sometimes I forget the reality of my traumatic past, as if it’s a movie I use to watch on the television. For years I wondered why my sister and I had to go through what we went through. Why me? Why us? What do I learn from this? What do I gain from all this? For years I resented the system and the people that let me down. After I aged out of the system I came to terms that instead of living in the past, I need to use my past as a fuel to brighten my future.
I had this overwhelming desire to fix the system. I started to speak on panels to future foster parents and professionals involved in the system. This was still not enough. All of this led me to this great nonprofit called FosterClub. This organization opened many doors for me to speak about issues that matter and to make visible changes within the system. I finally have the connections and the resources to implement changes to the world of foster care that I think are important.
This is why I encourage you to not give up. The reality of the situation is that life is not fair. There's always going to be someone who appears to have an easier life, but there are people who are in unthinkable situations all over the world. It is up to you, up to us foster kids to change our perception, and not let our past define our future.