Declaration of the Foster Children

 

There is no way to adequately start this article. There are thousands of metaphors I could twist into something that will tear at your heart strings, but there is nothing that will make you feel. There is nothing that will make you stop what you’re doing and take immediate action. There are only the strangled voices and the loss of lives before they’ve even begun, struggling to maintain some type of humanity within themselves, to remind them they’re human, too, that stand behind you like evanescent ghosts. This is whom I write for.

In 2010, there was a total of about 408,000 children in foster care across the United States. Out of those adolescents, a mere 53,000 were adopted — that is approximately 13%. That does not take into account those who are “brought back.” This means 87%  of those children had no other choice but to remain in the system. The results are staggeringly similar for previous years.

Children are often brought into foster care due to negligence and/or abuse, which is ironic considering the amount of that same abuse that takes place within foster care itself. In fact, it’s gotten to the point that it’s widely suggested by psychologists that adolescents living in foster care are so negatively affected by the situation, that it’s better for the children to remain in the abusive household from which they came.

There are numerous amounts of similar statistics and findings. Despite this being a very well-known issue, there is so little being done to change it that there has been a “Human Rights Petition” drafted and available to sign, designed in hopes of getting the President himself to right what has been wronged for so many decades. It should be shameful to America itself that it has even come to this level.

In all honesty, I write this with experience. Since age seven, I have been involved with Child Protective Services, because my mother was a drug addict and I had never met my father. I ended up living with my abusive grandmother which, in retrospect, is probably a hell of a lot better of an outcome than the children who ended up committing suicide or housed with complete strangers who wanted nothing more than to use them for their own sick pleasure. So, it is with an all-too-familiar anguish in my soul that I personally recall many aspects of how the child care system has quickly spiraled downward, with no sign of ever picking itself back up.

Which is the exact reason that it comes down to the individual to make even the slightest of change. Whether that be choosing adoption over procreating, becoming a case worker who actually, genuinely cares about the children within his/her jurisdiction, volunteering at a shelter near you, or any other various deeds that would be enormously appreciated.

However, this is not a plea to become fluent in humanitarianism. This is meant to be more of an awareness, a declaration of how sickening the foster care system in America has become and been left as. This is not the first roar of a revolution, but more-so a weep of what is and what is sure to remain. Although not amounting to much, this is meant to be a face for the (literally) millions of children who have suffered beneath the name of “not being good enough” and never having found a place to call home, even while residing in the country that boasts every day of its free lands. I, and now hopefully a few other kind souls, recognize their existence and will carry their heavy hearts upon our shoulders every night, until maybe one day they are finally able to appreciate the moon again, and what it is to be part of a family.

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Commons photo credit: D. Sharon Pruitt