The realities of growing up in foster care
One thing you realize when you get to know a kid in foster care, is their lack of stuff. Most of the time when they are taken in to care, they are handed a bag and told to grab a few things they might need while the situation is sorted out, or a bag is packed for them. They usually enter the foster care system with the clothes on their back and a change of clothes in a bag. No pictures documenting special moments or achievements or showing a family resemblance. They don't have a special toy, or blanket, or an award for something they accomplished. The truth is there probably wasn't much to take with them when they left their family and entered care.
The disfunction and instability that creates the need for the child to be taken into care does not provide for a beautifully documented childhood. Baby pictures, a folder with old birthday cards or their first pair of shoes, just don’t exist for these kids. Perhaps that is why so many of them cling to the idea of being back with "family " They desperately want to have someone or something that can tell them who they are, and show them that they matter, that they are loved and they are important.
What are these boys like?
Boys in foster care are just like any other boys in many ways. Most of the time if you were to meet them at the mall or pass by them on the street you probably could not tell the difference between them and any other kid that age, however, if you watched them long enough you might be able to tell the difference.
You might be able to see the weariness in their eyes, or observe the physical fatigue that comes from caring the weight of life experiences many of us can only imagine. The kind of life experiences that play out like a scene from a tv cop show or a violent movie.
Unfortunately for them it's real life.
The interesting thing you learn as you spend time with them however, is that mixed in with all the violence and drama and neglect, are regular everyday family moments. Good moments that create good memories and a familial bond. When you spend time with these kids and get to know them , you start to see that for many it is not the abuse and neglect that create the deepest wounds, but rather, the emotional conflict they cary because of the familial bond and the trauma suffered because of that bond. Many don't really want to go back because in foster care they have a clean place to sleep and plenty of food to eat however they miss their families.
Some worry about their Mom.
Is she ok?
Does she have a place to stay or is she living on the street? Is she safe?
One young man said "I can't stay in this group home because I don't want to be that kind of kid. You know a foster kid, a kid with no family. I got family it’s just not safe for me to live with them."
Why are these boys in foster care?
Children wind up in foster care for a variety of different reasons, all of them having nothing to do with the child or their behavior. The sad reality is that most of these kids have been neglected or down right abandoned by their parents or natural guardians. All they want is some semblance of family and structure so they can live as normal of a life as possible.
Why are the boys faces blurred?
We have blurred out the faces of the children in the photos because as minors their identities need to be protected at all times. Some of these children come from extremely abusive homes and revealing their identities could put them at risk.
Hard Reality of Boys in Foster Care
kids enter foster care each year
of these kids are male
age out and become homeless
children age out of foster care yearly
will end up being unwed fathers by 21
15 Year Old Foster Boy
This week end I had a blast with RAM. I love all the events that were put on for us and the food that was provided for us. I saved the best part for last, I loved the word that was said. It made me feel like I was loved and I was important.