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.
Here were some of those answers.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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?
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.
Have you ever been reading a book, watching a movie, or even sitting down for a fantastical cartoon and began to salivate when the characters dig into some doozy of a made up food?
You're not alone.
Food is apparently fertile ground for creativity. Authors, movie directors, and animators all can't help but put a little extra time and effort into the process of making characters' tasty delights mouthwatering even for audiences on the other side of the screen.
Read on for a perfect mixture of nostalgia and hunger.
AllWhammyNoMorals asked, "What's a fictional food you've always wanted to try?"
Some people were all about the magical foods eaten in the magical places. They couldn't help but wish they could bite into something with fantastical properties and unearthly deliciousness.
"Enchanted golden apple" -- DabbingIsSo2015
"The Minecraft eating sounds make me hungry" -- FishingHobo
"Gotta love that health regeneration" -- r2celjazz
"Pretty sure those are based off the golden apples that grant immortality. Norse mythology I think?" -- Raven_of_Blades
Take Your Pick
"Nearly any food from Charlie and the Chocolate factory" -- CrimsonFox100
"Came here to say snozzberries!" -- Utah_Writer
"Everlasting Gobstoppers #1, but also when they're free to roam near the chocolate river and the entire environment is edible." -- devo9er
"Lembas" -- Roxwords
"The one that fills you with just a bite? My fat a** would be making sandwiches with two lembas breads and putting bacon, avocado and cheese inside. Then probably go for some dessert afterwards. No wonder why those elves are all skinny, eating just one measly bite of this stuff." -- sushister
Some people got stuck on the foods they saw in the cartoons they watched growing up. The vibrant colors, the artistic sounds, and the exaggerated movements all come together to form some good-looking fake grub.
The One and Only
"Krabby patty 🍔" -- Cat_xox
"And a kelp shake" -- titsclitsntennerbits
"As a kid I always pretended burgers from McDonalds were Krabby Patties, heck from time to time I still do for the nostalgia of it all. Many of my friends did the same thing." -- Thisissuchadragtodo
"The pizza from an extremely goofy movie. The stringy cheese just looked magical lol" -- ES_Verified
"The pizza in the old TMNT cartoon as well." -- gate_of_steiner85
"Only bested by the pizza from All Dogs Go to Heaven." -- Purdaddy
Get a Big Old Chunk
"Those giant turkey drumsticks in old cartoons that characters would tear huge chunks out of. Those things looked amazing, turkey drumsticks in real life suck and are annoying to eat."
Slurp, Slurp, Slurp
"Every bowl of ramen on any anime, ever." -- Cat_xox
"Studio Ghibli eggs and bacon" -- DrManhattan_DDM
"Honestly, any food in anime. I swear to god half the budget no matter what the studio goes into making the food look absolutely delicious." -- Viridun
Finally, some highlighted the things that aren't quite so far-fetched, but still far enough away that it's nothing we'll be eating anytime soon.
That tease can be enough to make your mouth water.
What's In It??
"Butter beer" -- Damn_Dog_Inappropes
"came here to say this. i was pretty disappointed with the universal studio version which was over the top sweet. it was more of a butterscotch root beer. i imagine butter beer to be something more like butter and beer, which wouldn't be crazy sweet, but would have a very deep rich flavor" -- crazyskiingsloth
Slice of the Future
"The microwave pizzas in back to the future two" -- biggiemick91
"I've been fascinated with those for years! They just look so good!" -- skoros
As Sweet As They Had
"The Turkish Delight from Lion Witch & Wardrobe. The real ones I had weren't bad but nothing special." -- spoon_shaped_spoon
"Came here to say this. I know it's a real thing, but I always imagined that it must have been amazing to betray your siblings over." -- la_yes
"You're used to freely available too sweet sweets. For a WW2 era schoolkid, it would have represented all the sweets for an entire year." -- ResponsibleLimeade
Here's hoping you made it through the list without going into kitchen for some snack you didn't actually need.
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When a movie rakes in a ton of cash at the box office, the studio that made it has only one thing on its mind: "How do we keep shaking this money tree?"
Unfortunately, that means they make sequels, sometimes sequels on sequels on sequels.
At times, the sequels are solid. They tie nicely into the first film, emphasizing the qualities that brought folks out to the first one, while immersing them into that world for another great couple of hours.
But sometimes, it's wildly clear that the longterm planning behind a sequel was minimal at best. These part two's are truly terrible experiences, made even more disappointing by the excitement created by everyone's love for the first.
Some Redditors shared the worst examples.
Sullivans97 asked, "What is the worst movie sequel ever?"
Plenty of contributions to the thread were noteworthy simply because the Redditors' deep hatred for a sequel spurred them to write a very entertaining review.
"Son of the Mask. Worst sequel. Worst movie. Worst piece of entertainment. Worst experience to sit through as a human being."
Oddly Specific Analogy
"Independence Day: Resurgence."
"What the fu** was that giant heap of steaming camel sh**?"
Two Key Elements
"The plot is mostly driven by Mushu acting like a real piece of sh**, and Shang gets turned into the butt monkey of the movie as a consequence."
"Vastly inferior to the first one."
Just Horrible Decisions Every Step of the Way
"Where is Speed 2?"
"Speeding cruise ship (Zzzzzzz)"
"WTF were they thinking?"
Other people chose to discuss the sequels that, for whatever reason, chose not to include the key attributes that made the first movie so good.
Whether it was the absence of character, actor, or overarching theme, the experience was as puzzling as it was frustrating.
Insert Muscle Here
"Kindergarten Cop 2. Yes it does exist and it is a bad as it sounds. Dolph Lundgren takes over the role of Schwarzenegger." -- TheBassMeister
"Bro, don't be such a jabroni. Imagine, a super ripped, super smart cop-in a mesh tank top-named officer Dolph Lundgren." -- why_not_fandy
"Ugh wtf the movie was great why make another one" -- c_girl_108
"American Psycho 2. It wasn't even originally intended to be a sequel, they just shoved the name on it and added loose references to Patrick Bateman. Awful." -- Mountain_Situation89
"Mila kunas who is in it was told it was a different name and was pissed when they ended up making it a 'sequel' " -- Imfrank123
"Yea, that's the thing. The movie would have been a decent film if it was just a serial killer film and not an AP sequel." -- JennyBean2000
"It had some okay parts, but what they did to Justin Long's character completely undercuts the meaning of the first movie. And no Ryan Reynolds."
Last, some people realized that any film franchise that goes beyond two installments is just asking for things to go downhill in a hurry.
Once you cross three--and even four--your just too far from the source.
What Even Is Home Alone 5?
"Home Alone 3, 4, and 5" -- theWet_Bandits
"I honestly enjoyed 3, sure it made no sense at all, but I can look past that and really enjoyed it. 4 and 5 on the other hand, I barely remember what 4 was about and had completely forgotten that 5 existed until just now." -- botbattler30
End of the Mummy Era
"The third Mummy movie." -- goshawkgirl
"Fun fact: The trailer for Mummy 3 has Brendan Fraser saying "here we go again" and Ben Stiller thought that line was ironically hilarious in terms of cranking out soulless sequels and it inspired the 'here we go again....again' line in the fake trailers at the beginning of Tropic Thunder." -- Call_Me_Koala
Part of the Reboot Frenzy
"Not to repeat others here (hopefully), but the 4th Indiana Jones movie should never have been made."
"For what it is worth, The odd numbers are great, the even numbers are terrible with the last one being one being Steven Segal bad."
So there you have it. A full list of movies to avoid at all costs no matter how bored you are flicking through Netflix lists.
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Oftentimes I like to do my best Ghostface impression and aggressively ask people what their favorite scary movies are. Because I personally have a lot! At the same time, I'm also terrified that at any point, I could end up getting my head punched off by Jason Vorhees (Part 8 of the series--best one IMO).
Real life contains the scariest horrors you could ask for. So aren't we all living in a horror movie, in a way? At least, these people sure freakin' were.
In the words of the legendary Mary Vivian Pierce in the film Pink Flamingos, “Murder merely relieves tension”. I’m sure the following Redditors felt differently.
Nothing scarier than the woods at night.
Went into a real deep woods hike for only the second time in my life.
My gps broke and had to rely on my compass. Got turned around a few times because I couldn't remember the direction I came from, and it was getting dark. Lost the trail way.
But the woods are weirdly silent in the dark and alone.
It was around 2am by the time I found the trailhead.
Darn foxes.the simpsons react GIFGiphy
My friend and I got lost late on one foggy night in the Italian countryside. There were rats all over and every once in a while we heard someone scream.
I've never been more sure I was about to get murdered than I was that night.
Could've also been a lynx, but they are much rarer in Italy.
At least she wasn’t speaking in tongues.
My mom is quite the sleep talker, but it's usually pretty short and incoherent when it happens. One night as a teenager, I woke up to her scream-yelling the Hail Mary prayer (my bedroom was across the house and upstairs).
Difficult to get back to sleep after that one.
Sometimes scary sh*t ends up just being funny coincidences. Super funny. Right?
Don’t give them any ideas.
I was exploring an abandoned mental asylum and then got the scare of my life when a scary looking person inside one of the rooms was just staring at me without moving. Turns out some joker had left a cardboard cutout there.
Don’t you hate when that happens?Evil Dead Horror GIF by Coolidge Corner TheatreGiphy
I was driving home on backcountry roads at midnight in heavy fog. Like can't see 10 feet in front of you thick. Suddenly I see an all-white silhouette running in front of the car. Every hair on my body stood up. I immediately think "oh god, oh f*ck, it's a f*cking woman in white, I'm gonna f*cking die"
Nope just a drunk who dove into the ditch.
Gotta love paranoia.
When I was about 12, my parents went out for dinner leaving me home alone. We lived out in the country, on a private road with only three other houses, surrounded by cow fields and wooded areas.
I went into the the kitchen and glanced out the window towards the trees and there in the fading light I could see a person walking slowly through the woods. They were wearing all black, moving slowly and appeared to pause behind trees. My heart started pounding so hard in my ears I couldn't hear anything else and I was weak and shaky from fear. I froze and just watched them. Would they come to the house? Where were they going?
This was before cell phones but I suddenly remembered my mom had left the number of the restaurant by the living room phone. Slowly, I made my way towards the living room, trying to watch this stranger in the woods.
Just as I entered the living room, all the lights in the entire house went out. By this time it was nearly dark outside. I started openly sobbing and in the dark I heard a weird boom like noise. That was it, I ran to my parents room, hid under their bed and sobbed. That's where my mom found me hours later (it felt like).
Well, turns out the stranger in the woods was a stupid cow that had busted through a fence, the lights going out was from an accident a few miles away (hit the power line) and the boom was the pilot light in the gas stove. Man, I have never been that scared in my life though!
I have a lot of questions.
A naked man who was covered in blood chased me across a park at 2 in the morning. I was totally alone. He just wanted money for a bus (????) and luckily nothing bad happened but I thought I was going to die.
But of course, the genuine horrors do exist. And they aren’t scary in a fun horror movie way, they’re actually terrifying because they can happen to anyone.
A scary few seconds.car chase GIF by Mayans M.C.Giphy
I am a "baby" in a car seat in between cousins in backseat. Dad is driving. This is in the 80s and it is my aunt's insistence that I am in this seat even though I am like 5.
A sleeping semi driver is coming over into our lane and there is a cliff on other side. Basically my dad did some amazing driving but semi blew us up. I am uninjured sitting in the seat swinging my legs while everyone is unconscious. They all wake groaning. Dad doesnt wake up.
Long story short just minor scrapes and dad has broken leg. But the crunch of metal and those few seconds/minute of being the only "alive" person was quite fear inducing.
Glad they’re all ok now.
Two days after my now boyfriend told me he liked me he fell from a zip line and broke his back. Almost died. 6 months later he got into a car wreck from a drunk driver - almost died. 6 months after that, he passed out and had to have emergency brain surgery, again, almost died. I now have severe anxiety/separation anxiety/and ptsd. That whole year was a f*cking nightmare
Edit: we're both okay now, the brain injury was almost a year ago. But TBIs take a while to heal so he still has side effects. Thankfully our relationship is still strong; he's physically getting better and I'm healing emotionally too. Lucky for him, the trauma of the injuries has caused him to forget the majority of the pain and memories of those incidents.
ALWAYS wear a helmet.
Driving home from work at 23, listening to my favorite song.
I pull up to a red light, and see this guy on a motorcycle coming up next to me in the other lane. I rolled down my window to compliment his bike when he stops. He doesn't, and runs the red light. He hits a car going at least 55mph. His motorcycle shatters apart, he goes flying, hits the hood of another car, and lands on the ground and rolls into the curb (no helmet). The car he hit with his motorcycle was totaled. I had to step over his body to talk to the police. He was still alive when they got there. I regret not holding his hand. It was just a normal day, and all of a sudden it felt like the rug was pulled from out beneath me. He was only 18.
Edit: The song was Sunny by Boney M., for those curious
What did we learn today, kids? Foxes scream like humans, shadowy figures are usually cows or drunken rednecks, and once again, PLEASE WEAR A HELMET WHEN YOU RIDE ANY KIND OF BIKE.
Scary sh*t surrounds us. But where there is horror, there are heroes. So next time you think you see a scary figure in the woods, know that Bruce Campbell is probably right around the corner
I hate hypocrites. They are the bane of my existence. All you have to do is stand behind your words. How hard is that? You said them. I especially get peeved when people bloviate on a topic and condemn and holler but then when it comes to them doing it... silence.Redditor u/ErrForceOnes wanted to know about the moments people chose to curiously "pay no mind" by asking... What is a GIANT hypocrisy that no one seems to mind?
Hypocrisy is everywhere; it's like a disease. And sadly everyone does it. Some of us indulge in smaller doses than others. But some people live their life by it. Like how can you support civil servants, like police, firefighters, etc... yet try to find ways to hide money in order to not pay taxes? Tell me... I'll wait.
Manga...Hungry Night Court GIF by LaffGiphy
Italian moms that say you're too fat then say I'm making grandma cry by not finishing my pasta.
Celebrities positioning themselves as champions for social justice while launching a clothing line with no comment on the labor conditions their garments are made in.
The Porn Industry
Why is prostitution considered a crime, but it becomes perfectly legal once a camera is put beside them?
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...
You can get away with WAY more crap, in general, when you're attractive.
But we all kind of aspire to attractiveness and it's not like it's attractive people's fault, exactly. So what is there to be done?
So true. Money and beauty are treated like virtues and they aren't. They're luck of the draw. It probably helps you to be a better person if people assume that you are gentle and clever just by looking at your face or wallet.
KIDSGIF by MOODMANGiphy
People screaming at you if you don't want Kids and Kids are the greatest thing in the World and then turn around and whine how expensive they are and how annoying yadda yadda.
Yeah see... humans are a mess. And too often then not, personal conviction and dignity are just a myth, or a punchline. Double standards have always been a way of life. And many of us have begrudgingly learned to navigate.
FashionFashion Model GIF by NYFW: The ShowsGiphy
If a skinny person wears something out of the ordinary, it's a fashion statement and awesome. It can even just be something like a crop top or overalls.
But God forbid a fat person wear the same thing.
The hypocrisy hypocrisy. People love to call it out but rarely notice it on themselves and if they notice it then it's something completely different or a distraction.
That's the worst. I hate that I have to hate that. But if I don't hate it, then the hate will just continue. So, really, my hate comes from my love of an end to hate. So anyone who hates my hate hates love. And we must hate anyone who hates love!
My own personal hypocrisy; When I was a lot less well off financially, delivering pizzas trying to get through college, I kept a cup of coins in my car. When a homeless person would approach me for spare change, I gave them the cup. Most of the time it was nearly full, so there was probably 20-30 dollars in there.
Now that I have a good salaried job, even if I've got a few bucks in my wallet, I tend to not even make eye contact anymore. I know it's awful, I know it makes me crappy, but the last 4-5 years have made me a jaded craphead towards people in general. I used to be so hopeful and I wanted to help everyone, and tried to live a life that reflected that.
Now, while my general and political morality is pretty much the same, my personal morality has gotten more grey. I'd jaded, I hate people, I assume the worst of people I used to assume the best of. I don't really care about the strangers around me like I used to, but I still expect everyone else to.
It's so freaking frustrating when it becomes entrenched. "You did this, it's your fault" "you should've known to do x, its your fault" Yeah bro your problems aren't my problems and if all you do is make excuses and blame me for them, it's not going to be my fault when you don't develop as a person and accomplish your dreams. I'm sure they'll find someone to blame though.
In D.C.Donald Trump Reaction GIF by Election 2016Giphy
Politicians work part time, are given free housing, education, and health care, and exempt from the everyday violence we experience, but refuse to lift a finger to help us.
Just speak a truth and live it. Yes, it maybe hard. But what part of life isn't? Hypocrisy is just lying. Plain and simple. And it's a sin to lie.
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