The foster care system in America needs some serious help. Children are not a paycheck. Children are not pawns. Children need love or at the very least some care, respect and a feeling of security.
How can we expect our children to flourish if they're never given a chance to? The safeguards to this system aren't even broken they are NON EXISTENT! Too many foster families and kids fall through the cracks and it's a disgrace.
Redditor Quantum_girl_go reached out to those who have had to survive the foster care system by asking... Kids of reddit who were a part of the foster care system, what are some of your horror stories?
Let me sit down for this...Giphy
My family adopted 8 kids through the foster adoption system. We wound up with a family of 3, a family of 4, and one with no siblings. Along the way, we had about 200 children come and go through the house. There were all sorts of horrors. We had one girl who was around 17 who's dad was a professor and an alcoholic. We had a small boy who's relative had tried to stab him. We had a baby for three years who had RAD and was unable to form emotional bonds with other humans. All of the children we adopted permanently were born addicted to drugs and alcohol. Two of the younger ones (twins) also had cerebral palsy, and were never supposed to be able to walk or talk. Through years of occupational therapy, they are both ballerinas now, and (arguably) talk too much. So yeah. It's been an adventure. I could tell so many more stories.
To be able to have food...
Being painfully aware that the families I was staying with did not "take me in" for any reason other than money. Abuse and negligence was an everyday occurrence, and I had no idea that abuse wasn't normal. My (adoptive) dad has an anecdote from when I was around 5 and came to live with him for the first time. I opened the fridge, and with wide eyes, said in disbelief, "You have food in here?" So yeah, the whole foster care system is pretty flawed and messed up. Happy I was able to get out.
Having to bathe with the other foster kids at the same time. As in, sitting in a bathtub with someone else you hardly knew.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger...
A whole lot that I try not to reminisce, but the short end of the stick is my foster parents clearly had no intention of showing me any kind of love.
Becoming their foster child after being passed around the rest of my family and being rejected was really scarring for me. I moved in with them Freshmen year of high school and I actually ended up staying with them the whole way through. The only reason I chose to say is because if I left for another foster house, I wouldn't be able to go to the same school, and while they were few, I made some really good friends I wasn't willing to give up so I decided to put up with the neglect.
In hindsight I suppose I've become stronger over the experience, but it always scares me thinking of ever talking to my family again or even having a girlfriend because I'm afraid that I'll treat them poorly like my family did me.
Children Never Forget...Giphy
My parents just recently got divorced and they were fighting really bad. My mom moved us back to Florida from Illinois and had us stay at our Aunts house for a month or two. At the time there was 4 of us. I was 3 to 4 years old. My younger brother was around 2, my older sister and brother were no older then 11 or 12. Anyway. My mom went back to Illinois to finalize some things and get some belongings of ours. So we lived with our Aunt. Within those first two weeks, from what my mom told us, after signing temporary power of attorney over to my aunt, she put us in foster care. I was in multiple homes, from what I can remember. I was so young but some memories will never leave. One of the first homes was the worst one. If I didn't eat my food, I stayed the night at the kitchen table. One time I threw up and I got thrown into a room for a full day and wasn't allowed out. I remember crying under the door saying I was sorry. That same house had like 6-7 kids in it. I shared a room with 4 other children. From what I remember though, the children were very nice. The parent/Foster parents were terrible. They fought each other. It was honestly the scariest s*** I saw when i was that young. Then I got moved houses after some time. I can't remember them all, but I do remember temporarily being under the same household as my younger brother. We had a very very nice woman and her older son? Maybe husband? They were So nice. We called her Mrs. Kim. She bought us so many toys, took us to the park all the time. She was an angel. I remember her face still to this day. I hope she's doing well.
Children are not a check!
Almost failing my classes in high school because 10 teen girls in a 3 bedroom house with 2 staff members and 1 van meant getting home from everybody's drug test appointments and grocery shopping at like 8 at night, and nobody was allowed to be in their rooms until bedtime, so no homework got done until 10PM under my sheets with a flashlight. Only ever got half my work done and started getting into trouble for falling asleep in class. Bullied for being the only girl in the house who didn't drink at every possible opportunity. New staff every month or so because the pay was crap, so never had anyone to talk to. Verbally and emotionally abused by the power-tripping b***h who owned the place and collected checks for every girl who stayed there. Got beat up for reading. Had to watch Grease and Legally Blonde on repeat every night because those were the only two movies we had. No privacy, no respect, no compassion. We were simply cattle.
Get bullied by biological children in the home I was staying at.
Oh Florida... get it together!
Florida ex-foster care child here, so strap in boys and girls. I'm not worried about any doxxing, this was years ago and I don't even know if the place still exists, since I moved to the other side of the globe.
There exists a company in Central Florida known as the Arnette house, which has a large compound in Ocala. Due to the lack of available foster homes and Jails4Kidz, some genius decided it would be a great idea to house criminal children and foster children together because they're all problem kids, right?
You got in by either being taken into foster care and placed there, or you broke the law so many times that a Florida judge made you a resident at Arnette for rehabilitation. Or both.
While I was stuck there, I saw all sorts of crap. Staff members were either great or horrible, nothing ever in between. Once a fight broke out where one of the criminal girls attacked my foster friend, and the staff just sat back for a couple minutes to watch before intervening. I ended up jumping in between them and throwing my arms out sort of like in a T pose, until staff eventually pulled the criminal girl away. Yeah, I got the nickname Jesus. My long hair at the time probably had something to do with it too.
Oh, and last story for now, I wasn't allowed to learn to drive. I lived there from age 16-18, when my high school offered drivers ed courses for free. I was explicitly banned from taking them, because the big boss claimed that if I learned to drive "I could theoretically steal their van and drive away with a bunch of the other residents."
Stuff like that?Giphy
I wasn't in foster care but I was in and out of group homes which is similar. Many things have happened but the most memorable one is being chased by a kid Ashley down the hall and calling for a staff to help and not being helped. Other ones include falling asleep in the shower due to meds I didn't need to be on and being dragged out. I also remember seeing people's ribs broken. Stuff like that.
Some people shouldn't be allowed near children let alone be foster parents...Giphy
Well I wasn't allowed to shower. Only once every couple of weeks. I had to go to other people's houses and the schools to wash. I had to walk on the freeway to school and it rained a lot in the town so my shoes smelt bad and my toes kinda pushed together from where the shoes got smaller. Then my toe nails got infected and they still are. I got called ugly and dumb. Oh and best part! The system told me to suck it up because I could get worse people.