Dear Youth

This is annoying, and I know that. Reading this is probably the last thing you want to do, right now. I never wanted to do anything that was handed to me by my case worker or foster parent. I actually rebelled, constantly. I stuck to myself and didn’t talk about anything I was upset about. I didn’t even try to form relationships with those that were caring for me. Why should I? They aren’t my parents. They will just hurt me. They will leave me like everyone else did and I can’t trust them. These are just a few thoughts I had when I moved into a new home. These were wrong, my friends. I chose to learn this the hard way. I’m writing this letter, so you don’t have to learn the same way I did. I want all of you to have a better time in the foster care system than me. I hope you do. It’s not up to me, though. It’s actually up to every one of you, reading this letter.

I was only four years old, when the state took me away from my parents. I went through many, many homes, until I was eighteen. This wasn’t all my fault, but a lot of it had to do, with my behavior. I was angry. I didn’t like many people and decided that I wouldn’t find a new family, because I had one already and that didn’t work out. I would scream, yell, curse, fight, run away and repeat. I pushed every person, that tried to be in my life, away from me. Do you want to know where this got me? Do you want to know how happy this made my life? You might, but once you hear it, you might wish you didn’t.

When I turned eighteen, I became homeless in the winter in Scranton, Pennsylvania. That was hard, guys. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with, and that’s saying something! This wasn’t foster care’s fault. It was mine. It was my choices. It was my actions. We all know what consequences are, right? Well, I finally realised what that meant when I had to sleep under a car, with no blankets. When I say sleep, I mean that I was sitting there, wide awake, afraid to sleep because I was scared every single day. I didn’t know where I was going, in life. I didn’t even know where I could live, in the near future. The cold kept me awake, but my fear of finding a home to live at, on my own, was the worst part of this situation. I had no options. Remember, I pushed away every foster parent, case worker and person in my family. I really messed up and regret that I did that.

I’m jealous of all of you. Do you want to know why? Well, I am going to tell you. I can’t change my past and can only affect my now and my future. It’s too late for me to change, how I acted in foster care. It’s too late to build a beautiful relationship, with people that don’t even know me, yet take me into their home and care for me. I made so many choices that hurt me and all those in my life. I wish I could go back and change how I acted. I am jealous, because it isn’t too late for any of you. The only thing you have to do is take what I say in this letter to heart. I’m someone who has gone through just as much, as all of you, and I truly care about making this system better, for you all. You can make good choices that will make your life easier. You can stop being so angry and accept the life you have and just live it happy. You can have a family, if you let these foster parents into your mind and heart. I can’t have a family. Trust me, it is the worst. I don’t want that to happen to any of you, ever.

The only thing that will prevent this from happening to you is to communicate with those caring for you. Tell them what’s wrong, and learn that not everyone in this world is trying to hurt you. I want the best for every child, teenager and young adult that is going through what I did. I have an email that you can reach out to if you ever want advice or want to talk to someone who understands. The only thing I ask is that you try harder; to get closer to the people you are living with and not farther away. There is a document that I have assisted foster care in starting. It’s called the Teen Success Agreement. Get excited for this. I wish I had it when I was in foster care. It will help you have a voice and tell everyone who you are and what you want for yourself! It will help you learn what to expect from a foster parent. It will help you live easier. The only way it can do all of this for you is if you give it a try! Be honest and don’t hold back any thought in your head. I can’t wait to see how much this helps those in foster care and I am glad to be part of it but this is just the beginning of your life. Learn to love it now and your future will be more amazing than you can ever imagine.

Sincerely,

A Former Foster Youth - Brian Morgantini (brianmorgantini1@gmail.com)

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