At 10:00 on a week night, strangers came to the foster home of an 8-year-old boy. They had his foster mother pack a few things into his book bag, and they whisked him away into the night.
He has no idea why. But it’s not the first time this has happened.
It also happened at his last foster home. He never saw the foster mother, father, or brother he’d come to love and know over 6 months again. He never saw his teacher or his friends from school or his basketball teammates again. Within a day, he had a new “family.”
And so now he has to wonder if this new, unfamiliar place is his new home–and how long it will last. The last one lasted a year and a half–and his brother was even there with him for most of that time (although, one day, the strangers came and took him too).
He barely remembers his first home–the one he lived in, the family he lived with–for the first 6 years of his life. One day, the strangers and some police had come to that home and taken him and his brother away. He never saw that home or family again.
Now, he’s in the 4th “home” he’s had in the last 3 years. He’s scared and confused and unsure. He’s 8 years old.
This is the reality for one of the children I serve as a Guardian ad Litem. It’s the reason I do it. Because he deserves to have someone who cares. Someone he knows who is always there–no matter how many foster homes they send him to–no matter how many different case workers or therapists or teachers or counselors come and go. He should have one someone who is his voice, since his is so small–and often unheard. Someone to stand up for him and what he needs and wants and deserves. Someone who he can count on to show up as a familiar face as he struggles to adapt to this new environment. Again. Someone he knows cares about what happens to him. He may be in several more foster homes–he may always be in foster care (although I desperately hope that instead he’s adopted). His life is a series of uncertainties, disappointments. He deserves to have one someone.
They all do.
(Link: The National CASA Association)
An abbreviated version of this post appears in the Letters to the Editor section of the Anderson Independent-Mail.
9 responses to “One Someone”
I hate to read this. I can’t imagine a world where this is viewed as an acceptable way to care for the mental health of children, but what do I know?
I hate the bouncing around children do in the system. Almost every single child we’ve gotten, we’ve gotten from another foster home, psych hospital, etc. The kids just keep shuffling. I, too, wrote about it this weekend.
It is an imperfect system. I was reading some of your other posts, too, and it seems like you really go out of your way to try to help make smooth transitions and adjustments for your kids. Kudos!
How horribly sad! My heart aches for that young boy.
What’s really sad is that these kids usually think they’ve done something wrong–something to deserve this. They want to know what, so they don’t “be bad” again. 😦
I am new to the foster care thing. My heart aches for these children. I am just wondering the reason for the shuffling around? I know that some kids are to naughty for the foster parents to handle but other than that, do they just shuffle around for no reason?
It can be for different reasons. In one of my cases, it was because the child was diagnosed with a disorder that required he be put into therapeutic foster care, so he had to switch homes. In another, the foster mother decided it was just too much paperwork, so we had to move the kid. In another case, the child mentioned to someone that his foster mother “popped” him, so they yanked him out to do an investigation. One foster mother refused to comply with familial visitation orders. One time, a foster mother was at Wal-Mart with her kids, and a nefarious person from the child’s life before foster care approached them; they moved him for safety, didn’t ant the parents to find out his location.
Wow, that is so sad. Thanks for sharing. This is all new to me but I want to make a difference.
You will. It’s an imperfect system that needs good people to voulnteer, like you.