Spreading my wings

Spreading my wings

By Sandra Carpenter

Sandra Carpenter opened her home for over 16 years to 65 kids in the foster care system. After having 3 kids of her own, they extended their family, adopting 8 children. Being a foster parent isn’t the only way she has helped kids. Over 14 years ago, she opened an organization to support kinship placements and youth aging out of the system. Sandra shares her experience as a foster parent and child advocate.

Learning to Build a House with No Tools

Learning to Build a House with No Tools

By Raven Profit

Survial Skills 101 wraps up with Raven’s story today: “In my opinion, everyone has the right to be successful. In order for youth in foster care to be successful we must remove the stigma of being labeled incapable of performing academically, socially and economically because we are in the child welfare system. If anything, young people who survive the foster care system have demonstrated that they have the ability to overcome extraordinary circumstances. If provided the resources and support to attend the colleges they dream of attending — even a top college if accepted — they will succeed.

I am now working towards a bachelor’s degree with a double major and minor, am a member of one of the largest historically black Greek sororities in the nation- Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated, am the Vice President of all the historically black Greek organizations at my university, am on the Executive Committee for the SUNY Albany chapter of the NAACP, am an ambassador to promote higher education for youth, and also work for the Office of Children and Family Services.” Click “Daily Spotlight” to read all of Raven’s story.

A Release Date From the Past

A Release Date From the Past

By Cherish Thomas

Survival Skills week continues with Cherish’s story. Learn about all that she endured within the foster care system and discover how she endured all of it. “I went through so many experiences, my memory had been impaired to the point that I had no timeline of the things that occurred in my life—memories seemed to bleed into each other. I didn’t have pictures or a recollection of memories reinforced throughout my childhood because even they were scattered among the multiple people and places I had bounced between.

Still, thanks to the kindness of a friend and her family, I was able to fight my way through and finish high school. My early adulthood was spent trying to put the pieces of my life together so it could make sense, give me some frame of reference, and help me find me, find who Cherish was. I had to read about a lot of my life in foster care from documents that I requested when I was 18. It is funny having to learn about yourself through written assessments from workers who visited you for not even an hour a month, if they showed up at all.

Then there was my release. I had finally grown out of the system. I found my birth parents, and while they weren’t what I expected, I learned to forgive and I have a relationship with each of them. I was blessed with a full ride to a Big Ten school. I became the first in my family to complete high school, college and graduate studies. I work in the field that I felt kidnapped and imprisoned me, to make a difference and represent hope for children who feel unloved and marred by negative experiences. I was just like them, but I was determined I WOULD NOT be another statistic, or represent the demeaning title of ‘state ward’ or ‘system child.'” Click “Daily Spotlight” to read her entire story.

Proving the Stats Wrong

Proving the Stats Wrong

By Kurt Holden

It’s Survival Skills 101 Week for #FosterMyEducation. Meet Kurt and learn how he recovered from the tragic loss of his foster father, eventually refocused his priorities onto his college education, and is now a proud husband and father, who also is serving and protecting the community of Wayne State University as a police officer. “However, at my last foster home, my foster father tried his best to push me and prepare me to be successful. He took me out to eat and talked with me about my future, took me to play golf, and would just take time to mentor me. It was the first time in a long time that I trusted someone, so it was devastating when he passed away before I graduated high school. In the blink of an eye he was gone. After his death I lost my sense of direction. I did not have anyone else to step up, mentor me and push me. I graduated, but became homeless and “couch surfed” briefly. When I enrolled in college it was because of the dormitories – I needed a more stable place to call home. But I did not apply myself … It wasn’t until I was about to get kicked out for bad grades that I applied myself. I realized that my past was not entirely my fault, but my future was completely up to me.” Click “Daily Spotlight” and read his whole story.

Aging Out of Foster Care and Into Reality

Aging Out of Foster Care and Into Reality

By LaTasha C. Watts

Today LaTasha helps us kick off the theme for Week Four of Fostering the Future: Survival Skills 101. “I was never adopted, and I grew up feeling that no one ever really wanted or loved me. As result, I spent my entire childhood and the majority of my adult life drifting in and out of relationships, and struggling to grasp the concepts of life, love, trust and, most of all, family. The scariest part about being in foster care for me was turning 18. The average kid cannot wait to turn eighteen, graduate from high school and get ready for their journey to college or to travel down that brave road to adulthood. However, by the time I turned 18, the road to college was a distant memory.”

Click “Daily Spotlight” to read all of LaTasha’s story.

Losing my Father, Landing in Foster Care

Losing my Father, Landing in Foster Care

By Edgar Carranza

I was put in a group home in a different county, and I had to start a new school. My caseworker told me that education was not her priority at the time … For six months I was at this group home, then another group home for about nine months. And it did affect my education–my teachers could tell you I was a great student, [but] the instability in my life meant poor grades and poor attendance on my transcript.

Furthering Our Mission

By Marcia Robinson Lowry

Foster care is often discussed in statistics: about 640,000 kids spend time in care each year; nearly 15,000 children have been waiting for five or more years to be adopted; at least 25 states do not meet the federal standard for keeping kids safe while in care. But when it comes to raising awareness about […]

The Surrogacy Factor

By Alain Datcher

“I’m never leaving this place.” I will never forget the discouragement and hopelessness behind Marcus’ words. He and I had bonded during our time at MacLaren Hall – an asylum-like facility for Los Angeles County’s abused and neglected children. He had just heard the news that I’d be leaving in a week, to be placed […]

The Power of Support

By Sanni Brown-Adefope

My experience in foster care was a roller coaster ride. At 15, I was placed in foster care, when my mother’s struggles with mental illness elevated to the point that she could no longer take care of me and my younger sister. I lived in two foster homes with two totally different outcomes. The first […]

We Know How to Change Foster Care

By Juan Carlos Piñeiro Escoriaza

In 2010 I got a call from the founder of a nonprofit called the Possibility Project, requesting a meeting — they wanted to make a movie that would empower a group of foster care youth to tell their stories. Originally I thought the film might be more of a hybrid between documentary and fiction, but […]