Fun Fact #11 Teens In Foster Care & Attachments

Fun Fact #11: Foster children have a difficult time with attachments and.. basically everything in between.


I’m mid-twenties and I’m still trying to figure life out, especially when it comes to forming friendships and developing bonds, I’m just not good at them, and for the VERY few people that I somehow manage to keep around for more than a few weeks or months- it’s an accomplishment, I swear. For those of you that have stuck around for at least a year or more – you must be some kind of special. Remember that.

I’m still learning how to love people and develop positive attachments or let-people-in. Growing up, I never let anyone close and rebelled a lot. Today, I’m very selective about the few people that I keep in touch with. I’m great at making friends, and very social, but keeping them is a whole ‘nother story. Trust me, it’s not because I like being alone or that I don’t want to have people in my life, its because people will inevitably let you down in one way or another and I prefer to avoid uncomfortable situations. Or at least that’s what I learned at an early age, I know that’s not always the case, I KNOW there are good people in the world doing amazing things to help each other, but as a kid, I was hardly ever exposed to that sort of thing, so here I am years later trying to cope with years of abuse, neglect and everything in between.

Pushing people always my way of letting people know  Hey-you’re-getting-too-close-I-don’t-want-you-even-though-I-need-you kinda thing.

Most foster kids – by the time they have reached a certain age will have built this emotional brick wall that disconnects them from the rest of the world. Its something that took years to establish and it’s not something you’re going to fix overnight, I promise. It’s something that is going to take years of work and months of you restoring their values and views of decent relationships and trust (also keep in mind It’s not something that a therapist is going to fix or help with until THEY are ready to receive the help)

In fact, most (keyword) OLDER foster youth will avoid therapy sessions at all costs, and that is because therapy sucks! You know it sucks, WE know it sucks, so don’t expect therapy to be something they look forward to. In the bigger picture YES, therapy is helpful and positive and makes changes from deep within that are necessary in order to grow and move on from the past but that’s not something you are going to be able to explain to your foster children because they won’t care. It’s difficult to sit there in front of someone you hardly know and bare your soul, I can guarantee you that no one who is forced to go through therapy will enjoy it, nor will they gain anything from it.

But I promise you, they will let you know when they are ready. We all come to a point in our lives where there is nothing that will numb the pain. There isn’t a drink or drug available that will cure the void that fills our heart, and for those children that develop bad habits that are hard to break, understand  that its a soothing mechanism. The best thing you can do is re-direct and guide them, hoping they will take on healthier habits. TEACH them, what life is really about and show them new sports, games or physical activities that will interest them.

The “teenage years” are supposed to be one of the most difficult stages of life, it’s a time when children are just figuring out what they like, who they are and what they want to become.

It’s:

  1. High school
  2. Getting A License
  3. Preparing for college
  4. Playing sports/music
  5. First loves and first heartbreaks

and so many other things that we as adults, forget because it’s been so long. Back then is what what made us who we are today and we lived in a different decade, so let’s be real. No one understands teenagers, I was a teenager and I didn’t damn well understand myself, and they know we don’t get it. Don’t they? Don’t they tell you all the time? how you never “understand” them.

Let me tell you something, How do you expect a kid who is in the system and experienced more than most adults you’ve known your whole life – How do you expect them to react when you start giving them rules, expectations, normal chores, responsibilities and consequences like every growing teenager should have. I’m sure more than half of the time you get hostility and backlash in response (It normal I swear) The only difference is, we are emotionally damaged and need more attention than most. Basically, we need you to hold our hands like children.

I’m sure you get frustrated with a million different situations that you can’t control right now, you’re probably feeling powerless, like your never going to get through to them, or you’re hurting because: “why do they keep doing this to me?!”

Right? Wrong.

It’s time to get over feeling defeated and unsure of what to do, and its time to start UNDERSTANDING what it is these kids are going through and what it is they need. They need you to be there for them through all of their good and bad days, because yanno what? no one else was.

This wall was built after years and years of attachments gone wrong and broken “happily ever afters” that never happened. Right now, as these older youth are transitioning into adulthood they are still learning what positive relationships are, WE are still learning that there ARE good people in the world that won’t hurt us. So stick with us through our bad days, and our good because even though they may run out screaming they “hate you now” or they “don’t care” or “Screw You” what they are really mean is..

 “Dammit I messed up again, I don’t know how to fix this””

“It’s the only thing that makes me feel better, I hurt”

“No really… I NEED you, Please don’t leave me or give me back

I feel like everyone is entitled to a bad day but the difference between foster children and maybe a child you have raised since birth is, We are going to have bad months, bad weeks and bad years. It’s going to take time, I mean A LOT of time to reverse and rewire all of these negative thoughts. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it a million times because it’s so important. BE PATIENT and understand that the only thing that you need to do right now is BE there FOR them.

As an adult, I’ve tried my best to become the person I never had, a person that is loving, caring and genuinely good and loves unconditionally because that’s what children need (especially foster children), someone who loves them unconditionally, so become someone that loves them unconditionally. We all have a child within us that is fragile and just needs a little care, sometimes I still feel this lingering void of a girl that was never loved or sheltered. Sometimes I still have bad days because once you’re a foster child, You’re always a foster child.

© 2018 All Rights Reserved America DeFleur

 

 

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Fun Fact #1 -SCARED

1. Foster children typically have a tough time keeping people close.


This new house is empty and cold, It has this eerie quietness to it, A complete and utter silence during the day… then when night rolls around it all seems to come to life.

The refrigerator seemingly breathing sounds from the kitchen and into the living room, a hefty buzzing with the occasional stutter. It’s creepy.

As I sit here with my computer on my lap staring off into the distance I can’t help but notice the ceiling fan above chattering as it spins, creating a stale wind above. A flat stale wind that blows in my direction making me rethink the idea of keeping those windows closed. But I can’t bring myself to open them at night, I’m too afraid of what might be lingering outside. I feel like behind every little sound or noise there is something or someone waiting to jump out at me. This house terrifies me so much that I find myself awake late into the wee hours of the night.. or shall I say morning? When 5 am rolls around and the sun begins to break the skyline, I know it’s about time to sleep.

“After all, it’s not likely someone will break into the house this early in the morning right? ”

Plus, it just feels right going to sleep when the sun is out, I feel safer for some odd reason. Sometimes just watching that sunrise through my bedroom window gives me a little sense of hope.

As the sky awakens and hits its peak, I fall into a deep sleep and forget the world around me exists, forget that I’m alone in this empty house with nothing to do, and no one to call.

Once a foster child, always a foster child.

© 2018 All Rights Reserved America DeFleur

Fun Fact #5 – THE EASY ROAD

Fun Fact #5 – They take the easy road


A close friend of mine once said, “There are two paths to life – The easy one and the hard one, and more than likely if it’s easy then that probably means it isn’t the right choice.”

It’s something I’ll never forget and probably the most important thing I’ve ever heard someone say. Because it was at that moment, I started making decisions that would change the course of my life. I started doing things differently than my parents had done, differently than everyone I had ever known. I’ve watched so many children make choices because they felt like it was their only option.In fact, Most (Not all) of the kids I grew up within the system lacked the knowledge and parental guidance the be successful in adulthood. They were denied the Simple things that were essentially built in for other kids, love. The kind of love every child deserves.

When I emancipated foster care at 18 and was no longer a ward of the court, I told myself I would leave and never look back, that I was going to be a different person than everyone I had seen growing up in the system.I knew that I didn’t want to be like them, I wanted to make a difference I wanted to be the link that broke the chain. I wanted more than anything to be free and in control of my own life and I thought that leaving that part of myself behind was the answer. The day I walked out of those doors and stepped into the world was one of the most defining days of my life.

When you grow up like I did, When you grow up in the system, you learn at a young age that the only person you can depend on is yourself. You constantly question everything and everyone you’ve ever known, and in order to survive you grow up pretty fast. Trust is seemingly nonexistent and you never truly learn what it feels like to be loved. As a kid in the system, there were always decisions that were being made for me, decisions that I had no control over. I was always told that my voice “didn’t matter” because I was too young to decide what was right for me. At least that’s what the social worker told me when I requested emancipation from the court at 16 and they denied me. At the time, I was furious.

HOW DID THEY KNOW WHAT WAS RIGHT FOR ME?

They didn’t, In fact, no one did, because the truth is no one knew how to deal with children in the system back then, I mean can you imagine what it’s like to raise a child that’s been through more trauma than most people have ever experienced their entire lives? It’s difficult, and I know first hand because I was that child and at one point I was a foster mother to my niece when I became an adult.

I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times by now, “Not everyone could be a foster parent, but anyone could help a foster child” and that’s because

Raising a child is difficult.
Raising a child is difficult.
Did I mention that RAISING A CHILD IS FUCKING DIFFICULT!

But as difficult as it may be, it’s also one of the most rewarding things you can experience.There’s so much to worry about, so many things you want to protect them from and sometimes things you can’t. It’s hard, figuring out how to raise a stable loving well-rounded person. So I couldn’t blame people that turned me away after I was dropped off on their doorstep by the social worker. After the multiple homes that fell through and groups homes that never lasted. Good foster homes are hard to find, and not everyone gets lucky. For about a year or so I felt lucky, I thought I found the perfect home with Frances, turned out I was wrong. But that’s okay because When I turned 18 and realized that I was never going to be adopted, I let it sink it. I let it hurt because it made me stronger and I learned that it wasn’t because there was something wrong with me like I had come to believe for years, It was because there wasn’t a right place for me.

I was never given the emotional support or the stability that it takes to raise a child. And that goes for most children in the system. They say “It takes a village to raise a child” But I wasn’t born into a village, I was brought into this world by two people who were incapable of being parents and decided I wasn’t worth the effort.. decided that hurting me was easier. I didn’t have a mother or father to guide me through my teenage years, I didn’t have a home. I had social workers, therapists and probation officers who made decisions for me because they THOUGHT it was for the best, but truth be told, If I could have avoided the therapy sessions, the medication, The multiple foster homes, and the hours I spent locked in that room by myself with those dreadful blue cerulean painted walls then it probably wouldn’t have made me who I am today. Today, I am a strong, smart, brave and fearless young woman looking to make a difference in children’s lives because they are the future and I believe that every child deserves a voice, The kind of voice I never had.

© 2018 All Rights Reserved America DeFleur