Deep down inside I knew I still needed a family…
A 17-year-old young lady in foster care spoke at a Legislative Aide’s meeting on the importance of permanency for all children. They should not have to make life decisions without the guidance of a loving family. To learn more about the need for family, read D’s speech below.
Youth want to grow up, but that does not mean we want to grow up alone. Having permanency matters. I know that one day I will grow up but I will still need someone in my life so I am not alone. I am 17 years old and have not grown out of needing a family and as an adult I will still need a family. When I am an adult, I am going to look back on the people who were in my life and know that they were there to help me. When I was younger, I never thought that I would find a family that would love me for me. I never thought I would find someone this close to becoming an adult. When you are in foster care, not all foster youth have a supportive family right away.
I moved into my Grammy’s home when I was three years old. Ever since I was little she has always had my back. She would always take care of whatever I needed so that I could be successful in school. I would often push her away, but she would still always be just an arm length away. Even when I was not living with her, I could just call her and she would come just to give me a hug. There were times I would be upset with her and I would want to storm out, but she would give me my space and tell me that everything is going to be okay. I have been in and out of her home all my life due to various reasons, but this last time it was my decision. This last time I wanted to leave because I wanted to experience more freedom and less structure. I didn’t realize that no matter where I was at, there would always be rules. But me wanting more freedom did not mean that I did not want a family. At the time, I was saying no to a family, but deep down inside I knew I still needed a family. I just thought I could get all my needs met in different places, but this was not true. I realized it was better for me to have someone who is loving and supportive and not someone who is just a paid staff member.
Us foster kids saying no to wanting a family happens quite a bit, but we don’t always mean no. We say no because of what we have been through. We don’t think a family will be any different than the families we have already dealt with. We are afraid that we might get hurt again. We say no because the social workers asking the questions about having family aren’t supportive and we don’t want to deal with them. Even if we say no, there is still hope that we could have a family. Take the time to get to know us and don’t pressure us to make a decision that we are not ready for.