When you grow up in foster care and become a mother, your greatest hope is that you’ll get to be your child’s Mommy. Yet parents who grew up in foster care are at high risk of having their own children removed. Rise’s “My Story, My Life” writing workshops are for young mothers who grew up in care. Stories here describe the painful relationship between child welfare systems and the mothers they helped raise — and what it takes to keep children safe at home.
For the most part, my childhood is a blur, but I remember being about 7 and my uncle feeling on my backside when I was asleep. That’s when my hell began. At the time, I lived with my uncle and my mom, who was deep into an addiction. My baby sister slept in her crib. I lay on my top bunk feeling scared and confused.
I first told my story when I was 14 and spent … Read More
When you’ve grown up in foster care and you return to the system as a parent, it often seems like the court knows your entire mental health history. Because your current therapist also reports to the court about your progress, therapy can wind up feeling neither private nor safe.
Sonja Jacobsen, a lawyer for parents in Washington State, explains how to make therapy safer.
Q: Why is therapy important for parents when kids are in foster care?
A: … Read More
I was 4 when I went into my first foster home. My mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and severe PTSD from abuse she suffered from her mother, who was an alcoholic. My father was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. I was in and out of foster homes until I was 13, when I went back to my biological parents for good.
I had rocky times with my mother. Still, my mother worked hard to keep her … Read More
I became pregnant at 18. I was living in Champaign, Illinois, under state custody. I was a runaway from a transitional living placement and had met the man of my dreams.
We were in love and so happy to become parents. Still, I worried. I told my boyfriend all about my involvement with the state. He said we weren’t doing anything wrong so I didn’t need to be afraid. But I knew … Read More
When you grow up in foster care and have a child, your greatest hope is that you’ll get to be your child’s Mommy. Your greatest fear is that you’ll fail, and your child will feel the same pain you felt. When you lose your mother, you feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself.
Too often, our fears come true. Few child welfare systems nationwide track removals of children from mothers who have been in foster … Read More