The High Point:
The Foster Care System, most definitely, saved my life. If they had not taken me when they did, I would likely be six feet under. This is not an overstatement. My mother... well, let's just say that I have lived well past her years. And there is a lot of speculation of how she ended up six feet under before getting close to the age of 30. She passed when I was eight years old. I have outlived her by a lot. So you can imagine how that was sad and monumental for me.
My mum, in fact, I fully believe, saved my life! Not just my life, but the life of each of my younger siblings by giving us up to the foster care system so we didn't meet the same fate she did.
That is a hands-down, 1000% a mother's love. Mum, I know I never got to know you, but that mark you left, resembles a mark on my heart that is out of the movies. You are always part of my heart!
Don't know what a foster child is? Read this.
The Low Point:
I was going through my court records that I received on my front porch from three thousand miles away (per my request) this week. I had been anticipating them for such a long time after sending the request that I wasn't sure I was getting them. So I was excited to get them. Except for when I read some things that made my mouth drop. I am upset at the courts (in my county). While I thought they were in my "court" the whole time (pun intended), their own standards and shades were so jaded that they saw me immediately as a failure.
They determined from the get go, at the tender age of six, that I was not "fit" to be adopted. This was put in every court file from that one to every preceding document and court session. So I owe the thanks to you dear state aka father, for all of the abuse I experienced in the foster care system due to your own negligence in pre-determining who I was going to be from the time I entered the system.
I can't even begin to state the damage you have done and how blinded you were in writing up some of those court documents. I know now that I absolutely have to write this book. It's no longer my story, it is the story for all the foster kids out there!! Every six months meant a visit but it was so limited in time due to the unfair caseload that my social worker had, no fault to her. This is one of my number one things that need to change about the foster care system so kids don't fall through the cracks.
In fact, it has created this need deep within me to TURN THIS POSITIVE and also start raising awareness, even fun stories, on the new page on the blog-- "Foster the People".
Let's look at the EXACT wording that was used and see how, regardless of intent, how it psychologically reads to anyone. Which sets up social and psychological expectations of all parties on behalf of the child who has no voice to the courts, the judge, social workers, foster parents and most importantly, the foster child who, if like me, reads this more than twenty years later.
"Joint Adoption Assessment: At the permanency planning hearing held on March 13, 1991, the court found that appropriate conditions do not exist for adoption or guardianship and ordered long-term foster care as a permanent plan for the minor."
How does that read to you? Like seriously?
I barely am six years old when this decision is made?!
What was I, super ugly and an alien? Come on now! LOL.
Let's add to what makes this even worse...
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Foster Care Saved My Life... & Set Me Up For Failure— Via Bella (@Via__Bella) September 14, 2017
🤔 https://t.co/M9dxYYDS4h 🤔#fosterthepeople #viabella #fostercare #truth pic.twitter.com/1BGrrJocFn
"There are no circumstances that would merit a recommendation to change the plan of long-term foster care at this time."
Mind you, this was written into my court documents verbatim every six months. There was no change in the documentation wording from the time I was entering the system as a toddler to when I was graduating high school at the ripe age of eighteen. And, yes, I checked each court document I had.
So what does that translate to if the child was reading that?
= I. AM. NEVER. GOOD. ENOUGH. TO. HAVE. A. REAL. FAMILY.
Is that TRULY what you were trying to communicate? Because if it was, bravo. You got exactly what you wanted. A child turned adult, who had a hard time adjusting and didn't get a "family" until she turned 18 and not again until I got married. How darn sad is that?
You EVEN TORE APART my siblings and I. Which is why I want to find them.
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Then when I did succeed, you wanted to congratulate yourself for
No more convincing me needed that you didn't know what was going on beyond what I am reading. I did a separate post that details ways the system can change things. Because the little things make a HUGE difference in the lives of children who then have to become high-functioning adults in this world. Our community tomorrow depends on how we see our children today.
Also, worthy to note, that these court documents were prepared several months before a hearing. I have to be honest, that reading these, make me feel like I was a just a court number in the state's eyes when the only thing I did was being a child who needed a home for more than a few months at a time. Which furthers the question of you not realising how I couldn't trust adults in my life sometimes.
IF YOU FOSTER CHILDREN (and are good to them) THANK YOU!
Here are 10 pieces of advice from me to you. And here are 10 more advice pieces on top of that.
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In this court review, you mentioned even, how I didn't trust adults. But how can I build that trust when I was removed so often that I didn't really get to know people I was with? I am just pointing out some very stark and important notes that need to be made. I know I was no angel child and the "angel child" never existed for any child that is in the system or not in the system no matter how you try to paint them.
It has been interesting talking to other people, including my sister Natalia- whose story is much different and we are not biologically the same- but we are family because we ended up in the same family together (for the better). Natalia, who is a new college student, and I were talking and in that, we realised that you guys lied your way through what you don't understand and that you falsify documents to either get a result or to assuage your own misunderstanding.
Edited to add:: After seeing this post, I woke up the next day to a message on Facebook messenger confirming what my sister and I were talking about. I was wondering how true and to what extent this lies went in the court reports. Mind you, I haven't spoken to this person for a very very long time. After reading the court documents, with my mouth to the floor at what I was reading, and admittedly crying, someone who has known me since I was a little girl (which is a rarity), went home by home, which I don't mention any one home in this post, and confirmed the lies that were put into these court documents. Even down to me speaking up to someone about my abuse at my foster home, and she went to the principal to ask for the proper documentation papers to report the foster parents, and the principal refused. Calling the punishments (which were clearly abuse), overzealous. I can't even fathom why a principal would have the audacity to not report it. The abuse, which I will outline in my book, from this home in particular, were things that were made of nightmares. I still remember to this day what I had gone through in that home. At the same time, I know my strength does come from making it out of places like those, alive and intact.
Please don't ask the mini-me (me as a small child) to trust people when you can't figure out what is going on with me to help actually fix it instead of moving me from home to home. And PUH-LEASE, do not use the excuse that you didn't want me to get attached so I can try to go back home and not mess with that relationship. That relationship was all sorts of something-- twisted, messed up, wrong, tilted... I can keep going. You knew this, yet you went with what the system asked you to do for some false hope that was not a hope at all because the actuality was never going to come to fruition. So the damage was done.
Dear Foster Care System,
Thank you for saving my life-- You did do some things right. You got it right that if I was not taken away and put in foster care that my life was and would be endangered. Once you had me in your system, I became a number and things changed.You have gotten some facts very wrong. You have hurt many children for life based on very limited knowledge and yourself being overwhelmed while a child is in your care. Get it together so no other child experiences what I (or others) have.
Via Bella on behalf of foster children everywhere!
PLEASE SHARE IF YOU WERE TOUCHED BY THIS OR WANT TO HELP RAISE AWARENESS! THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING!