Poor Outcomes – A Sad Fact

Continuing building awareness regarding Foster Care as May is Awareness month.

Trigger warning

The following story mentions murder, substance use/addiction/overdose, suicide, homelessness, Child Protective Services cases that are open, trauma, illegal activity/selling drugs, sex work, mention of a higher power and spiritual crisis, the effects of poverty, and mention police.

Having been warned, here is today’s awareness builder.

It’s Foster Care Awareness month and I’m sitting here at 3:30 am, not able to sleep.

My friend, a girl I’ve known since 6th grade, was murdered in 2019. She was in group homes with me as well, two different placements. She dated my sister. I grew up with this girl. Today, the news covered the sentencing. I learned new details of what happened. It was disgusting, made me hate the world we live in, and made me so hopeless but furious. I’ll spare the details but it was inhumane, needless, and these two men are pathetic excuses for human beings. My friend was 22 when she passed, and she left behind a young daughter.

She did extra jobs for her employer and turned him into the department of labor after he refused to compensate her. That was his motive. It describes his crack-cocaine purchase right after the event. It was all about money. Money for drugs. But my friend was so desperate and had to work at this place and got caught up in this cycle trying to once again, rely on systems and was killed. I know the world is crazy and this could’ve happened to anyone but this specific case with the details.. I think not. I think this was a direct effect of how the systems chews youth up and spits them out. They have to rely and try to network with unsafe, sketchy people because they don’t know how else to make a living. It’s not like the department would help. Or care. Nobody who wants to do anything can and those who can’t won’t do anything.

I’m angry. I’m triggered.

I have three other friends from placement that were murdered. I have two friends that overdosed. I have two that committed suicide. I have one that died outside while homeless.

I’ve experienced so much grief and loss in my life, but I also know that these are the statistics for foster youth. Why do we have to be reduced to these statistics? When does it end? When does the world and our government figure that we’ve had enough?

This breaking code silence movement has done a lot for my mental health, targeted support groups help. Former foster youth are the only ones advocating and looking out for each other. I’m just so distraught tonight.

My friends all were amazing people, kind people. People who have seen the worst side of others but still worked hard to show up to life and make this world a better place for others, every last one of them.

I spent 11 years in the NYS Foster Care system. These youth from placement are all I know, I don’t even know anyone else aside from the internet that I haven’t met in care. I’m watching my friends die, I’m watching life kick them when they’re down, homeless, doing sex work out of necessity and desperation, stealing out of desperation, selling illegal items out of desperation, going to jail and prison, having open CPS cases with their own children when they’re just trying to move on with life and their own personal experiences, working for shady people because THEY HAVE TO. Everyone I was in care with, including myself live in poverty. I know I’ve had to network with shady people and take risks myself, you’re never growing up and are like “oh yeah I’m going to clean this mans house under the table that I don’t know and I could get attacked and all but nobody would care because I have nobody to call anyways and the police only made it worse the last time”

Because the resources aren’t there, the empathy isn’t there. The community isn’t there. Youth can so easily go back to what they know pre-system and actually pick up more behaviors in the system because THE SYSTEM DOESNT WORK. It’s failed so many of us.

Thank you for letting me vent, I’m mourning so much. I’m so scared to lose anyone else and I’m also fearful for my own future. They raised us to be stupid, to be nothing, to be institutionalized. They already reduced us to these statistics.

I feel so spiritually bankrupt at this point, I feel like I’ve been abandoned by my higher power, and I’m always stuck thinking about how the world should be rather than how it is. It’s so much weight to carry, but I can’t be complacent about the trials we face as youth. I feel powerless and here it is, foster care awareness month and I feel like this is the only platform I can come to and express my sorrows without being silenced. Thank you for reading. I just needed to get it out to people who /do/ care.

Regrets When Things Change

So today’s story goes like this – I had a baby June 30 was going to place her for adoption with a relative in Texas. Decided I’m no longer going to place for adoption and told her I was coming to get her. (Cause according to our agreement I can request the return of my child at any time) It was a agreement for non parent adult caregiver. Well she basically sent me a text saying no and wasn’t going to give her to me didn’t think it’s in the best interest. And was going to file a restraining order And somehow I was lying to her and she feels like I used her. I had originally asked her to take baby cause I wanted her to stay in the family. I hired attorney but I’m just scared and worried cause I’ve never been to court for anything and I don’t know what to expect and some how they have “I’m not able to properly care for her” but I take care of my other kids every day. So I just don’t understand and didn’t it expect it to be like now a custody battle. (She has a lot more support and money then me as she knows I’m a single mom.)

She adds – Everything was fine till I told her I wanted to parent. Actually at first everything was fine with me coming to get her, my relative was mad/hurt but wasn’t putting up a fight. Then come last Wednesday, I got a text saying NO and I wasn’t in the best interest of my own baby and some how I lied to her this whole time and had other people tell her I can’t care for her etc.

I actually believe she just doesn’t want to give her back and she trying to scare me to back off, thinking something going to happen to my other kids, if I don’t win my baby back or something. She blocked me from everything she trying to let the time frame past to where I can’t do anything and my rights can be taken away.

One woman in the group replied – I wish we could start a list of people who would take a baby temporarily, no paperwork to help moms out. I’ve done it before, had a baby for 90 days while mama got the help she needed and handed her the baby back. No Department of Children and Families involvement and when people asked – I would say I’m helping a mom keep her baby. I’m learning that sometimes moms feel they cannot parent at that moment and just need some time and can parent once help is given etc.

Another woman chimed in – I would love to be a fictive kin “grandma” to help young women get on there feet. My kids are young adults and helping families connect with resources is what I do for employment. Occasional baby snuggles or getting to see happy families would be an extra bonus (my work is done over phone/internet).

Someone added – If you only signed a temporary guardianship the law is on your side.

If you are unfamiliar with a Texas Authorization Agreement for Nonparent Relative or Voluntary Caregiver, this law allows any adult caregiver to be authorized to provide TEMPORARY CARE for a child.

Failure by the voluntary adult caregiver to return the child to the parent immediately on request may have criminal and civil consequences.

So further advice is this – Copy your signed agreement and show up at the local police department the lady lives in and tell them she’s refusing to give you your kid and based on what you signed you have every right to get your child back. They may say it’s a civil matter BUT this document should show them regardless you have the rights to get your baby.

The woman replies –  I called her police, they won’t help.

The other woman providing advice (and I agree, it is VERY IMPORTANT to make a STRONG CASE of demand at this point !!) – Honey – SHOW UP. Physical presence means a little more. Print this document. Type a paper or hand write it if necessary saying you hear by REVOKE all authorization previously given. Show the police. Ask them to make a copy and open a file. Dress appropriately and speak respectfully and calmly to the officers and chances are – if they see this document – they should aid in getting her back.

Someone else added – Did you try to file a kidnapping report using your document ?

She was told this situation is not considered a kidnapping.

She counters –  My copy of the agreement is not signed by a judge.  She was supposed to file her copy.

Yet another person notes – If she didn’t file it in her county, she has even less legally to stand on in this situation.

The distraught mother adds – I called her county clerk or court and they said they didn’t see anything but that the lady didn’t know much about this form. The woman in possession of her daughter said it has to be revoked by a judge.  The mother wants to know – how do you get something revoked, if it was never filed ?

Supportive responses come – The court clerk would most likely be looking this up by the person’s name. If there’s nothing filed, there’s nothing for them to find under their name.

I think there is a very high likelihood they’re lying to you about it having to be revoked by a judge in order to make it feel too difficult and insurmountable to have kiddo returned to you.

Frankly, I think they’re lying to you about all sorts of stuff. I’m so sorry. This is entirely bullshit.

Be very careful about who you trust to help you care for your children.  Even with the best intentions and “protections” too much is at stake to take chances with someone so precious.