CBS– April 6, 2018
(CBS4) – If you are like I was five years ago, you may have a vague idea of what foster care is. That means you probably grew up surrounded by people who loved you. You may have had parents, siblings, grandparents and even a crazy aunt or uncle. Bottom line is you have a family. And maybe in your circle, you didn’t know too many people who did not have family members.
I could not fully grasp a foster kid’s life until I met these kids and really listened to what they have to say. Some as young as five and as old as 18 have trusted me with their most intimate thoughts and details about their lives. In learning more about their lives as foster kids I also learned more about my purpose as a reporter who writes their stories and shares them with our viewers.
17-year-old Renee tried to explain foster care as best she could. She has been in foster care over half her life and is now almost numb to the sting of rejection.
“I totally understand where I am now I can’t stay, stay” she said with a shy smile.
She tried to be optimistic, but after working with foster care kids for five years now, I could detect the pain in her eyes.
“I am grateful that I have someone who cares about me enough to let me live with them” she softly said.
Renee has been to over a dozen foster homes and even more schools throughout her childhood. Just when she starts to get a routine, she is uprooted to a new home.
Moving to a new foster home is always tough, because you are forced to learn a new set of house rules and feel out the new adults in charge. Renee has never had the luxury of feeling safe or comfortable in a home. When she lays her head down at night, she understands it could be a different pillow in a foreign room possibly in a new town tomorrow.
She further explained to me that she isn’t quite sure how to bring up the fact she is a foster care kid to new people or potential friends. She doesn’t want to underline the fact that she is different than the other kids, because she doesn’t have a family. On the other hand, she wants them to understand why she can’t have them over to play or why she doesn’t have anyone waiting for her after school.
14-year-old Jeremy cannot tell me how many schools he has been to, because he lost count.
“Being in a foster home is not the best all the time. Especially switching to one to another to another. I want a stable home,” his hazel eyes were locked on mine when he said this. Both of his parents died and so did his grandmother. All the people he cares about are gone, so he is hoping for another chance at a childhood.
“That’s why I’m doing this interview. I’m trying to find a new family. Someone who can take care of me so I don’t have to take care of myself anymore.”
These kids teach me foster care is like being pushed into a dark hole with no guiding light showing the right path. All these foster care kids have are the people who are working to get them adopted. Those special people are caseworkers, social service workers and recruiters at organizations like The Adoption Exchange. They try to influence the kids in a positive way and say, “Yes you are lovable and we are going to prove it to you. We are going to find the right family for you”.
Most importantly there are people in our community who show compassion to these kids. People like you taking the time to read this brief. Some of you may soon offer up a room under your roof for a foster kid or maybe you decide to donate to the organization.
As 13-year-Katelynn told me, “Yeah I might not have a mom that is my bio (biological) mom, but at least I can have a new family and my life rewritten so I can have an actual childhood”.
My purpose as the Wednesday’s Child reporter is to help kids like Renee, Jeremy or Katelynn author a new chapter in their complicated childhoods. They deserve a story with hope, words of encouragement and love. I am grateful for the opportunity to meet them and the platform as a journalist to share their stories. Now we pray a potential mom or dad will read into them, flip the page and adopt.