After 20 Years, Young Man Leaves Foster Care On His Own Terms
NPR’s Youth Radio shared this story of an incredibly powerful letter written by a 21-year old who first entered foster care at the age of one. He read aloud his letter at the final court hearing when he was exiting the foster care system. You can read the full letter or listen to his words here, but be prepared that either way they will stay with you.
Here are a couple excerpts that we felt to be particularly worthy of highlighting:
Walking into court for my very last time as a foster youth, I feel like I’m getting a divorce from a system that I’ve been in a relationship with almost my entire life. It’s bittersweet because I’m losing guaranteed stipends for food and housing, as well as access to my social workers and my lawyer. But on the other hand, I’m relieved to finally get away from a system that ultimately failed me on its biggest promise. That one day it would find me a family who would love me.
In an ideal world, being a foster kid is supposed to be temporary. When it’s stable and appropriate, the preference is to reunite kids with their parents or family members. Adoption is the next best option. I used to dream of it. Having a mom and dad, siblings to play with … a dog. But when I hit 12, I realized that I was getting old. That adoption probably would never happen for me.
All of us who care about kids and especially kids “in the system” need to hear this young man’s words.
Photo Credit: Brett Myers/Youth Radio