Who will tell their stories?
As National Foster Care Month is wrapping up its last week, I came across this image on Twitter:
Who will tell the stories of children in foster care?
As a social worker, I know that every child has a story to tell, and every child deserves to have someone listen. I have looked at some of the kids I have worked with, and have been humbled by their bravery, their courage to grow and flourish despite some of the terrible trials and adversity they have gone through. And yet, despite the scars, both internal and external, most of the kids I meet all want the same thing: to love and to be loved. To grow up and chase their dreams.
Like veteran soldiers who have fought on the battlefield, many kids in foster care are still haunted by their past, and suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. It’s hard being a kid, and trying to do normal “kid stuff”, like learning to tie your shoes, or learning to read, or navigating the sometimes invisible rules on the school playground, when you carry the burden of your traumas deep inside.
Foster kids need caring adults who will listen to them tell their stories, and they need their stories out there, so that the general public will realize and know that things like physical abuse and sexual abuse happen each and every day. Because when your story is out there, you can realize it doesn’t have power over you anymore. Your past can be just that, and doesn’t have to define your future.