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I will never forget my twelfth birthday – on that day, my social worker appeared at my foster home with two trash bags and announced that I was moving. She handed me the bags and said, “You need to pack your things.”

My things. I was hurt because not only did she hand me trash bags, she didn’t even volunteer to help me pack. More than that, I did not own enough things to fill two trash bags. I had no idea why I was moving or where I was going.

It was then that I knew what it meant to be a foster child. It meant I was not worth the time it takes to explain what’s going on; I was not worth owning a real suitcase. That day, I hardened my heart, and carried feelings of worthlessness with me for many years after. I spent eleven years in North Carolina’s foster care system, moving more than a dozen times during this period.

I had a unique transition from foster care -- I left the system at age twenty-one; but my last foster mother had been so amazing that I could not fathom the thought of life without her. She was the best mother anyone could ask for. She went to all my games and held parties for my senior prom and high school graduation. She adopted me when I was twenty-three years old. Today, I look at her and feel so blessed.

I still wish that I had had a stable family when I was growing up. Foster children get used to changing schools often, but if I had a family, I would have never had to leave the school I loved and all my friends. After I left that school, I attended three others. When I finally returned my senior year, I had been gone so long my friends did not even recognize me. I had to work extra hard to make friends again.

I am one of the lucky ones. Now that I have a family of my own, I do not worry as much about the things such as where my next meal is coming from, where I will sleep tonight, and other things that most youths take for granted. Having a family is something I would like to share with other foster youth.


As an author and advocate for foster care reform, Julia speaks powerfully about her experiences in foster care and the need for change. Learn more about Julia

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We are fosterparents and

tecumsehcampfire's picture

We are fosterparents and also beleive that you never age out of a fosterfamily. We have adopted a child and had to have one removed. We will be there for both of them as a support team. I really think the one that we had moved is where she should have been a long time ago. We were patient and took the proper steps to have her moved instead of taking her to dhs and signing her off like what had been done to her so many times. It took a month to get her in the right place. We took her for a phycolgical evaluation and waited for an opening at St. Vincent's catholic charities

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Brina1970 This story started

Brina1970's picture

Brina1970
This story started off so sad. I couldn't imagine having to leave my home and not know where I would be going. I am happy that she found a mother that really loved her. I have been keeping my foster daughters close to me so they won't know what it means to be a foster child. They already had signs to being neglected and abused when I got them as young babies. I hope that they can be my permanent daughters.

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Betty J McKeithen when I

thebestofall's picture

Betty J McKeithen when I readed your story I thank God for blessing you with the right foster mom were she wanted to be apart ofyour life you are better than blessed.And god blessher for adopting you.

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I am glad that even at 23

Anonymous's picture

I am glad that even at 23 you wanted to be adopted! That is what love does it teaches you what family is all about. It's not about the money or things, but love the mose precious commodity that we own, time comes in second. But why is it so diffuclt to become a Foster Parent, their should be a streamline process for the good parent to become recruited and maintaine for these older children. I love you story, keep up the good work!

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being a foster parent has

Anonymous's picture

being a foster parent has had it's ups and downs for me. I have tried to take care of each of MY KIDS as if I gave them birth but i have had some that seemed the more i tried to love them the more they hated me but God gave me three beautiful girls (I adopted) to love along with my one birth daughter I thank God daily for these blessings

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When you hear a story like

gailfrost's picture

When you hear a story like this your heart goes out to them and you want to hug them so tight that they cant breeth. I'm so glad that someone loved her enough that she can talk about her life with others...

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