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People Who've Aged Out Of The Foster System Without Being Adopted Explain What They Wish Prospective Parents Knew

People Who've Aged Out Of The Foster System Without Being Adopted Explain What They Wish Prospective Parents Knew

The foster system, while unfortunately necessary, is inherently broken. It results in traumatized kids and several groups of families who ultimately "use" the system for their own gain.

Sometimes foster care ends in adoption and a loving match, but sometimes all it ends in is pain and the need for more therapy. Though folks with good intentions can be found, it takes a special kind of person to be able to sink themselves into the constant love and difficulty that comes with fostering kids.

u/fourleggedfishfood asked:

[Serious] People who aged out of the foster system without getting adopted, what do you wish prospective parents/adopters would know about your experience?

Here were some of those answers.

Managing Resources

Sometimes it's better to age out of the system since the state will pay for your schooling until 23 and medical until 26 (look into your own state laws).

You can always formally adopt later, but if you do so before, there will be loads of legal hoops to jump through due to how the system is run.

Aside from this, allow them to be kids. Teach them things like finance and get them a way to build credit, also how to apply for loans and work with investments (both financial and also goods).


Love Them First

I know that this doesn't answer the question... Foster dad here. My sister adored a few kids and had a hard time. Someone gave her the following terrible Advice. "you don't have to love them, you just have to tolerate them". Terrible advice that my sister lived by.

I live by a much different philosophy. I try to treat our foster kids the same as my own. That being said, I understand that they have many life experiences that I have not had and probably can't comprehend.

I try to give them a little more space and patience. At the same time we try to provide some structure and make sure the understand expectations. They get the same amount of emotional support our kids get and as much physical love as they'll tolerate.

We're also in the process of adopting a little boy. He's lived with us since the summer. He's slowly transitioned from calling us by our first names to mom and dad. The other day he even said "love you" as he left to play with some friends. First time, we were a little shocked.


Assume The Best

Don't treat your adoptive kid(s) differently than your real kid(s), foster kids are not always abused so try not to assume the worst, be willing to be patient with your family member(s) while they navigate their new situation.


To Build Trust

I was a temporary ward but hopefully it's okay to comment.

One piece of advice that I'd like to give to prospective parents is to not badmouth the child's biological parents. It's of no benefit for a child to hear an adoptive or foster parent going on about your parent's issues like addictions or not showing up for court or visits.

It doesn't help your self esteem when you hear negative things about them. When people did that I almost instantly disliked them for doing that so I never trusted them. It also made me feel like they were using my sad story to make themselves look like heroes and it annoyed me.


A System For Comfort

I ended up with a bonus teen in February of 2020. My son's gf needed a place to stay and her family life was rough at the time. She has lived with us since then and while she talks about moving out at 18 in 6 months, I tell her she doesn't have to move out so quick. I didn't get financial compensation for having her (never my intention) but it did make things tight as a single mom.

It has been awesome watching her blossom here. Christmas was interesting as she shared her past experiences. She worked part time to be able to give her huge extended siblings gifts. It is prepping me for foster work after both kids move out later.

The other thing that started happening as she got used to me, was she asked me where I was going and when I would be home. My son didn't do that and he also stays at his dads part time. I learned it was trauma she had as a young child with bio mom abandoning her with younger sibs and being put in bad situations. So now I make sure she knows my schedule.

I try to treat her as my child. She adds stuff to the food list, and gets shopping trips to get shoes, underwear, makeup, hair stuff- she is biracial so her hair is different than mine and needs different products. Over the years, kids have always been welcome to stay for a little while to a long while.

Kicking kids out of foster care at 18 with no safety net is immoral.


The Kids Are The Best Parts

Not 100% sure about whether I can reply - I'm a foster parent for a few kids who have aged out. In general, the advice I'd offer other parents is what folks have already suggested - treat them no differently, don't assume the worst, assume good intentions, etc.

What I would offer to other parents that might be different, would be a few things

  • how important different foundational assumptions are. Don't assume kids know how to deal with time or schedules. Assume kids have food security issues. Don't assume they have any idea how to safely navigate the internet. Etc
  • TALK to the kids. Just talk to them and ask them what they want. And, ya know, execute against what they want.
  • The system is often harder than the kids. Protect the kids against the system itself.

Slow And Steady

Treat your foster kids as more or less equals who you are letting live in your house at first. Go slow. They are going to believe you're only in it for the money and not trust you. Giving them chores or too many restrictions are going to make them really stressed and annoyed. Find a way to connect with them. Play a board game or take them out for lunch. Talk to them like they are your friend. Eventually over time if you do things right they'll come to see you as a parental figure and not a warden or stranger. Hopefully someday they'll see you AS their parent. Just take it slow. Okay?


Skills Need To Be Taught

I wish people would understand just how developmentally delayed some of us are. Between severe adhd and years of horrible abuse and neglect, I was nowhere near the level of life skills that caregivers would expect of me, and it led to so much added stress and trauma.

Knowing you're going to age out on your own is so much added pressure, and it feels like people just expect us to be able to rise to the challenge even more so than our peers outside care, despite having none of the tools or support they do. It's really f**king hard.


Less Rejection

I'm not a foster kid or former foster kid. But I'm a therapist for teen girls in group homes who mostly end up aging out. It sucks. We need more foster homes willing to take teens. The system is broken and it perpetuates a sense of hopelessness for anyone who actually gives a damn.

Also, most of these kids have been in for YEARS bouncing from home to home. Stop giving notices so easily. Ask the social worker for help, get in family therapy, figure out what the kid likes and support them doing that thing. They aren't some thing you picked up at the store and you can return because they cuss or yell sometimes. Even if they smoke or "are disrepectful" they deserve to be kids and have a safe and stable environment.

Just my opinion.


The Trauma

That moving from home to home transporting your stuff in trash bags and getting a new mom and dad all the time is exhausting and causes trust issues.

No, we don't believe you love us (because we've been moved out of previous homes), no we don't trust you (again, it's not you, it's what we've been through) and that we probably have anxiety disorder which manifests itself differently in everyone (with common themes- jumping at loud noises, tapping our foot, etc.).

We might be quiet, we might talk too much because we are accidentally overcompensating. We don't know who we are because our entire existence has turned into a coping mechanism. Coming out of this will take time.

Edit: also if you foster us for years and never adopt, we assume you are doing it for the money and badge of being a "good person."


Years later

I aged out at 21 because I was a full time student. My mothers rights were never terminated so I wasn't able to be adopted. My advise is don't give up on them and just because we age out doesn't mean we don't need you anymore. At the ages of 18 or 21 we are still basically kids.

If you do plan on severing ties after they age out at least teach them about money management, savings and building credit, family planning, resume writing, interviewing skills and make sure they have at least one good set of interview clothes. Those are just a few things that immediately come to mind for me.


Survival mode

I wish that my foster parents would know that I didn't mean to be so feral. I wasn't removed from my bio family until I was 12. I had a hard time unlearning my survival skills or figuring out which ones to keep. For the most part, I enjoyed most of my foster homes. At 17 I was placed with a family that is still my family.

It's really hard for a child to reconcile losing their whole world. I lost all my pets, my friends, and oh yeah- my siblings and parents. Being separated from my siblings caused damage to those relationships that has still yet to be repaired 20 some years later. I still mourn that loss. There is no one alive today who has known me my whole life. Not one single person, and I am young. I don't know how to explain how that feels. Not lonely, but unseen maybe?


Sibling bond

Being split up from my siblings permanently affected our relationships with each other. We have no animosity towards each other but we are like polite strangers. Visiting with each other was always awkward instead of being able to just hang out naturally. My older brother and I went to live with our dad when I was 13 but I never got to live with my younger siblings once we were split up.

We all live in different parts of the country now and go years between seeing each other in person. I think we all limit how much we interact today because it feels awkward. My brother passed away in October and for about 4 weeks, we were all in touch and I was thinking, "Maybe we will start having more of a relationship with each other". And then the communication just died off again and none of us bother.


People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.