In 2016 there was a total number of 437,000 children in foster care in the U.S.
“In FY2016, 92,107 children were removed from their homes due to parental drug abuse, a 7% growth over last year. 166,679 children—61% of those entering care—were placed in foster care due to neglect, which often is exacerbated by parental drug use. Neglect and child drug abuse cases have both grown by 3% in the past year.” (adoptioncouncil.org).
I came into the foster care system when I was 13 years old. I was taken away from my biological mom because of abuse, drugs, and alcohol. I was placed in a house where a set of twins and an 11-year-old girl also lived. I was overwhelmed and struggled in the situation. It was not long before I was moved to my next home, which became my true home.
I had a lot of issues that were not easy to deal with. I caused my foster family, the Olsons, a lot of heartbreaks due to the way I behaved. I acted out as a defense mechanism and a way to protect myself from the pain that I had been through for so long. The house I have lived in now has 8 foster kids in total.
The Olson family has been doing foster care for 36 years now, and whenever possible try to keep siblings together. My foster grandma also did foster care. My foster mom got to grow up with foster kids. At least 5 of them turned around and did foster care themselves. Some even adopted children. They focus on helping babies and younger kids who need a family who loves them and can raise them the way they should be.
I am now a senior in high school; I will be graduating and going to college in the fall. I have a huge family. I have people who care about me and want me to succeed in life. They have been a huge blessing and help in my life. They have put up with so much and made me the young lady I am today. I believe I would be in jail, into drugs and alcohol, or even pregnant if not for their efforts. They gave and continue to give me everything I need. I have been given a chance to live a good and happy life.
Kids like me go through so much pain and hurt before CPS is called and investigates the situation and decides to remove the kid or kids. If more people decide to foster or adopt, then more kids will have a place to call home and a family who cares about them. Yes, it can be difficult, but with persistence, we can come around and let down the walls we use to protect or hide our true feelings. Love and safety will help us become who we truly are.
If you would like to learn more about fostering a child, go to https://dpgazette.com/fostercare.