When a young child enters foster care there should be a support group set up for that child. By support I don’t just mean therapy. I mean a mentor-mentee program. Someone the child can relate to and also look up to. When a child enters foster care they automatically set up therapy. Most kids (if they are like me) feel that something is wrong with them if they have to go to therapy. Instead of therapy I believe a mentor-mentee program will be more effective.
I was brought into care at the very young age of three months and of course I didn’t know what was going on at that point in my life. Now that I am 17 years old and know more about why I’m in care I wish someone was there to guide me through the cruel system of foster care. I went through so much in care but instead of my agency offering alternatives to help me with my issues, I always was told therapy was the way I would get better. As you see I am 17 years old and still am facing some of those issues.
I found out that I was born a crack baby, I was born with fetal alcohol syndrome and I wasn’t meant to be here. When I was conceived my mother was prostituting and one of her customers slipped up and that’s how I came about. From what I know my father lives in Florida with his wife and kids but because of the way I was conceived he doesn’t want anything to do with me. WOW! I know that’s a lot to take in. but it doesn’t stop there, the list goes on…I have been in 14 foster homes and 1 group home. I have been mentally, physically and sexually abused. As you see the life of foster care has taken its toll on me. I have a lot to relate with other foster children. My life has been no happily ever after ending. It’s been a journey but I am blessed because I am healthy, intelligent, respectful, persevered and prosperous!
If I had a choice of what to tell a foster child when they enter foster care I would tell them “what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger”! I say that because no matter what I have been through or will go through in the future I know god will not give me more than I can handle. So I am strong and will only get stronger. He believes in me and I believe in myself as well as all the foster kids all over the world!
NAFP is a community outreach partner of The Foster Care Film and Community Engagement Project (FCFCEP), a documentary project depicting the lives of youth in foster care. This blog post is written by film interviewee Juliet Forde, a former foster youth and advocate.
For more information about FCFCEP, visit www.fostercarefilm.com, and follow the Foster Care Film on Facebook and on Twitter. You can also watch short clips from the project on YouTube and Vimeo or check out a trailer of the first live-action short film, Feeling Wanted, to be released in 2015.