This post is a difficult and sad one for me. Sho and I have recently completed the adoptions of our sons from foster care. In the process we became very aware and horrified by the crisis of the close to 500,000 of our nation's children in foster care.
In California alone close to 5,000 kids "age-out" of the system into independence each year. These kids so often do not have the skills, the confidence, the maturity to fend for themselves. I cannot tell you how tragic this is.
This has become even more real to us as we have gotten to know a couple teens in care. The stories of their lives, the number of placements, group homes, detention, and the ongoing journey of trying to piece together a sense of identity and family from their disjointed and traumatic histories. One teen is leaving a placement this week where he thought he was going to be adopted. The adult was not really prepared for the task at hand and I found out this week that he is leaving to another placement. The placement is a good one, but whether this young man can trust enough to have it work will be seen. Another young woman is AWOL from her placement, not at school, staying with questionable people in an unknown location, and is off her medication. The outcome of this may break my heart...we are hoping for the best! Finally, a young teen that is living in foster care (has been her whole life). She is an honor role student and a very shy quiet youngster. There is a lot going on internally though and deep in her heart...she just really wants someone to decide she is worth it and choose to call her daughter!
I can't post a photo of any of these kids, they deserve their privacy. In some ways, though, having their faces hidden also makes it easier to ignore them. Below are some links to check out including the Heart Gallery. The Heart Gallery was where we first saw a photo of our 5 year old son.
Bay Area Heart Gallery
Heart Gallery of America