Mission Moment (February 21, 2017) - Good Shepherd


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February 23, 2017

The following is an excerpt from a letter written by a resilient young woman about her experience of coming into the foster care system. She read the letter recently in its entirety to the members of her Family Support Team. She happens to reside in one of our Treatment Foster Homes, and our worker was so moved by the letter she forwarded to agency leaders (and I’m delighted she did). With her permission, I am sharing this quote. If we are to serve youth in foster care effectively, compassionately, and in a manner fully consistent with our values, this is a perspective we must understand. The way we go about our work makes a difference, and we must be ever mindful of the voices of those we serve. As you read her words, I urge you to say a prayer not only for this young woman and her family, but for all the children and families impacted by trauma and abuse—including the trauma of being separated from loved ones in an effort to help.
My brothers and I had our world rearranged on October 23 & 24, 2013 where we were just another child in the system. I remember the tears rushing down my face, it was like watching the raindrops race down the window of a car. I remember feeling my heart shatter into a million different pieces. It was like having your first heartbreak, and it was like someone dying. It was like everything you once had, had been erased. It was like a tragic accident, and you couldn’t do anything about it. Everything in my life fell apart in a matter of seconds. Once they picked me up from school, I didn’t know what to think. All I wanted was to see my brothers… Because my mom was staying in the woods, we were all at different places. I had no idea where they were, or if we were going to be together or not. Once they picked me up, they said my brothers were at Marygrove Overnight Emergency Program, so that’s where I would go too! I was relieved, but in November we were soon all in different homes separated from each other and only having visits once a week. I guess we were taken for a good reason, but then again that was our normal. I believe the foster care system is like being in a coma. You don’t know if you want to wake up or if you just want to die. The world goes on without questions, but children in the system go without family, friends, lovers, food and even questions. I believe foster care is just another job for people to make money. I believe foster care is just another disaster waiting to happen. But what do I know, I’m just another child in the system.