Foster Care Through a Child's Eyes

The life of a foster child is very hectic, stressful, sad, and full of anger. Each day is a guessing game, not knowing whether I’m staying or going. 
The treasurable moments I get with my biological family and siblings are short and shouldn’t be taken advantage of. I tell people this from 
experience, my experience. Though there are many children out there with worse situations then mine, it still can be dreadful at times.

My life has been crazy ever since I can remember. Growing up in a large and struggling family, in a rapidly deteriorating economy, life in our 
household was unpredictable. I have always been a little brighter and ahead of the pack. As a result, I was more mature when it came to serious 
matters. My mom never really had any support from other people; the men she chose always ended up hurting her and our family. Her own family 
even abandoned us many times when we were in dire need. Because of this, my mother always tended to lean on me and confide in me. I became 
very protective of my family as I grew older, as if I were a father. I helped to raise them, and some aspects of our daily life were nothing short of 
scary and traumatizing. The anti-septic term domestic violence hardly covers what sometimes happened in my home. My mother’s lack of stability 
caused us to bounce around, whether it was her inability to pay bills or she was running from harm that would have come her way. She is a very 
caring person and she always tried to help people even if it meant trouble for her. When someone was in need she would take them in free of 
charge and feed them, though many of these people were in dangerous situations and therefore we were then involved. Now I was in trouble a lot 
of the time having to focus on growing up and defending my family. My mother was a grown woman but she was a very confused one as well. I had 
to be her conscience and she had also been in many physical things dangerous to her life. And I was the one to always come to her rescue.

A few months before my siblings and I came into foster care, our situation became worse. Strange people started coming around. My mother 
started going out, and sometimes she didn’t return until very late. It started worrying me, and she tried to be completely honest. I knew her all too 
well, however; and I knew that something bad was going on. The strangers not only worried me, but scared my siblings. I felt it was up to me to 
keep them safe. I tried reasoning with her, but there was something different about her. One day, I noticed the strange bruises on her arms, and 
she admitted to me what was going on. I loved my mother and was scared for her. Eventually, we lost power and water and were very low on 
money. My mom also did make sure we were fed and taken care of, though. Then, soon after, the worst of it came.

A month or so after my thirteenth birthday, home life was at its worst. One day my mom called my friend, Trevor’s, home and asked him to bring 
me home. She sounded too calm and I knew my mom. It scared me and I knew something was going on. When I arrived at home, cop cars were 
circled all around. I went into my home and saw my mother crying. Two of my younger siblings were in tears as well. I found out what happened. I 
was told they were taking us away and putting us in foster care. I had a few moments with my mother before we had to leave and the last thing she 
said was, “take care of your siblings.” and from then on, I promised myself I would do that one thing for my mom, no matter what it took.

The DFACS workers took us to their local office, and we sat there for hours. It seemed like an eternity. Finally, they told us they found us homes, 
but they had to split us up. My siblings were so scared. The two youngest went to one home, and the two older ones came with me. Turns out my 
foster home would be with my librarian. I wasn’t as scared because I had known this man, Dr. John Degarmo, for a relatively long time, as well as 
two of his children, Brody and Jace, with who I had been in classes with. I was still nervous and worried about my two youngest siblings, who had 
never been away from my mother for longer than a night or two. I heard stories about foster care all my life; how they ripped families apart and 
such. When I arrived at his home I was shocked because it was larger than any other I had ever stayed in. His family came out to greet me and two 
of my siblings. I had never expected them to be so nice; they had already been out shopping for us and everything!

Two quick days passed, and I was told we would have to go to court that morning, which I absolutely dreaded. I didn’t enjoy court, but my constant 
worry was about my siblings. I didn’t think they needed to be exposed to things such as court. They were too young and wouldn’t understand; it 
was quite scary for them. While there, I was notified that my uncle, Matthew, had dropped everything and rushed from Maryland to Georgia for us. 
In court, my uncle ended up getting temporary custody, and we all, the five of us, went to live with him and my grandmother, Debbie, as well as his 
two children. At first everything went great and the months flew by. I had always been very close to my uncle and enjoyed spending so much time 
with him. Eventually, as things always had in my life, it went bad. My uncle ended opening up his own business which did very well but he was 
virtually never around. He hired a babysitter who was very incompetent and ended up leaving everything to me. My uncle was extremely young, 
twenty-two, and couldn’t handle the stresses of everything very well. What everyone didn’t know was my grandmother was abusive. I was lucky 
because she knew I was intelligent. She had a reputation, and I had the ability to ruin it, and because of this I wasn’t harmed.  My siblings and 
cousins weren’t as lucky. When I wasn’t around, she had little patience and was very ill tempered and this led her to violence with them. I was had 
no way of defending them, because I was so worried about my family being split up again, not for my grandmother’s risk of jailtime. Eventually, the 
babysitter quit and I was the replacement. Being so busy my uncle depended upon me to care for all six kids. It was hard and my uncle was a good 
man. He felt terrible but didn’t have time to find someone else for the job. Soon after, DFACS found out about it all, and we were removed from his 
home and shipped back to Georgia.

On the way home, I found out me and my same two siblings as before were going back to stay with the DeGarmo family. I was happy to hear this.

The DFACS workers also reassured me that the family for my two youngest siblings was a nice safe environment. I loved it and life was going well. 
I had the opportunity to be a normal kid. A month or so later, one of my youngest sibling’s foster parents had to have surgery and they were 
moved about an hour away. This was okay.  I began wrestling on the varsity Monticello Hurricanes Wrestling Team. A downside to this was I had 
busy Saturdays and missed many of the few visitations we had. My brother Allen, who was a few years younger than me, and I began arguing 
constantly. He was the closest to my mother and had the hardest time after we were taken from her. Also, he had severe anger issues and 
behavioral issues. I had Bi-Polar and ADHD. I still loved him more than anything, but we didn’t mix very well. My foster parents ended up having 
him and my sister placed in a different home because of this. He didn’t to find out the reason why.
     
Things were still okay after this, school was going well and so were all my extracurricular activities. The DeGarmo family is amazing, and I enjoy 
living with them so much.  My mother had been trying to get her stuff together, and recently we went to court. I made a mistake and misspoke 
which led to court mandated visits, because of this I lost most of my extracurricular activities. My mistake upset me and it was hard for the first 
couple of days.  I got over it soon enough.
      
My mother ended up having to go to court for her crimes. While there she was told she had to go into rehab and stay there six months or go to jail. 
My mother had tried rehabs before but always made excuses and had to leave. This made me nervous because we had recently gone to court 
before that and her case plan had four months before it ran out. This meant if she didn’t get everything and complete all the tasks she needed 
she would lose us permenantly. It was going to most likely be extended if she stayed in rehab like she was supposed to. That helped ease my 
worries.
     
About two weeks ago I was told my mother had been kicked out of rehab. She was said to have had an “altercation” with another woman there. My 
mom tried to explain she had done nothing wrong, but my mother was prone to making excuses. She was really worried about me being upset with 
her. Admittedly, I was because now she most likely will face jail time and lose her chances of reclaiming me and my siblings. I’m strong enough to 
handle this but it will devastate my siblings, which is what frightens me the most.
     
Truthfully, I keep my feelings to myself, refuse and despise therapy and things like that. I do this because many people fail to understand me. I 
love the family I am with and wish to be nowhere but there unless my mother gets her stuff together. It is clear to me now, though, that she won’t be 
doing that anytime soon. The consequences for her actions affect not only her but me and my siblings as well. Also, my foster family is at their limit 
with the number of kids they have already and this disappoints me. I would be lucky to stay with them. I dread the day I leave them.

I hope that others understand and appreciate my story. The life of a foster child is a hard and complicated one. This is my story, a story that doesn’
t compare to the sheer chaos of some others. And I hope that when people meet or see a foster child do not judge them. Do not classify them as 
“delinquents” or “underachievers.” I hope the world will greet them and be proud that society has members who are so strong. Many of them aren’t 
successful. Everyone gives up on them without even giving them a chance. There are many talented and bright young individuals in foster care 
who amount to nothing simply because no one cares enough to give them a chance. So, I hope others realize something from this. That foster 
children can be anything a normal kid can be if people help them. All they need is a little love and compassion, which is something the world is 
short on these days.