Dear Care Givers
This letter is designed to give a perspective of what an older foster youth feels when transitioning into a new home. Its purpose is to shed light on how that affects youth, and how caregivers can approach having a new young adult in their family. The Teen Success Agreement accompanied by this letter should assist both roles involved with fostering a person between the age of twelve and twenty-one.
I’m getting tired of moving, changing schools and having to find a way to make new friends. I don’t understand what it means to trust, because everyone I have chosen to has left or has been pushed away by me. It’s hard to accept the life I was born into. The unfit parents I have weren’t chosen by me. The expectation of where my life would be at this point is completely different than where I am at. I miss my mother and father. I hate them too. My siblings aren’t with me, so how can I trust in the bonds a family is supposed to have? This might be new to me, or maybe I have been in the system for years, but either way it’s difficult to make this transition. It’s hard to open my heart, my mind and accept those trying to care for me. I want this to work, but I am also afraid that it will.
There will be times, where it seems like everything is perfect and going just right. Then there will be times where my wall is up and just need my space. I might even run away a few times. Building up trust with me will be difficult and a bit stressful. We will have situations that will probably make you question why you should continue helping me or why you even chose to in the first place. I can be dishonest, manipulative, make you stay up at night worrying about what to do to make things better, but I want you to think about something. What teenager these days doesn’t do that to their parents?
It is actually quite a normal occurrence. I urge you to go on the web and look up the article Teen and Parents in Conflict. This can give insight on the struggles that parents face, who have raised from birth a teenager, who now gives them more conflict than ever expected. Then I ask that you take into account that those, who are raised in foster care, are typically troubled but have the desire to live just as normal of a life as any other person not in their situation. We want to be accepted. We like to test and push buttons, to see just how committed you are to us. We are young and just looking for a family with unconditional love that accepts us for who we are, that does this because they want to help and to make a difference in a person’s life.
Give us this, along with some patience, and you will see the walls that are built up start to crumble. You will see the strength we have and the loyalty. You will experience our enormous capacity to love and our ability to become part of a family, with everything we have. You will feel the joy of watching us transition through life, instead of to another home. Foster parents, in my eyes, are the ones who make impacts, in so many troubled kid's lives worldwide, and they don’t get enough acknowledgements, for that. In my eyes, you are the heroes who helped mold my life and keep me off the streets or away from parents, who weren’t able to be parent’s yet. I hope for those going through similar circumstance to have a hero, or heroes, just as I was able to. I’ll end this with a quote I heard, in response to the question, “Why do you foster? Well, I guess my heart is just bigger than my brain.”
A Former Foster Youth - Brian Morgantini (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Or contact Mathew J. Kovacs (Unicustalent@gmail.com)