In May we celebrate National Foster Care Month But for me and half a million other kids in the United States, it’s always foster care month.
I became a foster child when I was 9 years old. The state had many different reasons for taking me from my parents, but I was too young to really understand. Since 1998, I’ve been in 23 different placements in Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia. I even came close to being adopted once. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a bad kid. It just took a little while to find the right place.
When I was first taken away from my biological parents, I hated everyone. But I especially hated the state social workers that took my siblings and me away from our home. I can still remember their names; I couldn’t see what was so bad about our situation. But as the years have past, I have grown to realize why the state got into our business. I realize now that I wasn’t living a perfect life with Stanley and Martha. In fact, our life was far from perfect.
You may think of your parents as being the people who gave birth to you, but I see it totally different. My parents are not the people who gave birth to me, but people who have known me for only a little over a year. I still love my biological parents, but I have also grown to love my new parents.
This is why I believe that the foster care system has helped me a lot over the last 9 years. If I had not become a foster kid, I wouldn’t have the privilege of going to college.
As I said before, there are half a million foster kids in the United States. Of those kids, only 4,582 of them have found an adoptive home. There are also more than 100,000 of them waiting to be adopted and nearly 20,000 teenagers “age out” of the foster care system before they can find a family.
So tonight when you go home, take a good look at your family, your possessions, and your friends. Then think about how you would live with out any of those things. Tonight somewhere there are kids that have to learn to do just that.
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