Dear Future Foster Parent:
I am a teenager in foster care. Since you are thinking about becoming a foster parent here are some things I’d like you to know as you make your decision.
- Kids like me need to live with people who get that I’ve been through some really hard times and that it’s because of those hard times that sometimes I’ll give you a hard time. It’s not really about you. I’m just not very trusting of grownups. And, because of that I may push you away when you are nice to me. I am testing you to see if you will still care for me. Most often I don’t even understand why I give you such a hard time. I need you to hang in there with me through the hard times. If you do, I’ll become more trusting and, probably, easier to live with.
- Remember that the things you take for granted are some of the most important things you can provide for me … things like a home with a routine, regular meals and nutritious food (even though I’ll complain about all those vegetables), some help with school like having a place to do my homework and a chance to do normal kid stuff like being able to invite a friend over. I need to be safe and secure. Remember that you don’t have to own a house or be married or have some fancy degree to give me these things. I just need your willingness to accept me as a member of your family for as long as I need to be with you.
- I need you to understand that I think about my family a lot although I may not talk about them very much. I still miss them even though there may be very good reasons why I can’t be with them. I wonder if they are okay, especially my brothers and sisters, and if they miss me too. I worry that my parents might not be okay with me living with another family. And sometimes, when I have had a good day with you I may feel guilty about it. That’s when I might be really hard to deal with. I don’t want you to think that you can never mention my family. It’s good for me to know that you understand that I think about them a lot and that I can love them and be mad at them at the same time. This is confusing isn’t it? It confuses me too.
- Finally, I need you to take a chance on me. I know that there are a lot of easier things to do with your life. But if you’ve been thinking about becoming a foster parent maybe that means that this is what you are meant to do. If you could take a chance on me you could have an incredible influence on the rest of my life. You could be the person who helps me have confidence that I am a good kid who can become a good adult, even maybe a good parent. Maybe even a foster parent someday! Wouldn’t that be incredible. So, like I said, think about it, okay?
Your Future Foster Child
Written by Diane Kindler, LCSW