Overpopulated Foster Care ~ Never Getting Adopted

A fellow writer here billybuc wrote an article here a while back entitled What It Feels Like Being Adopted. He and I share many of the same issues and many of the same opinions. While I have no expectation of this ever being of the same standard, and quite honestly probably more depressing, I wanted to offer readers the other side of the coin. Being adopted is something I know only a little about. However I am full aware that it will come with many ups and downs just as not getting adopted.

Me the year I went into Foster Care.
Me the year I went into Foster Care. | Source

How It All Started

I was born in the summer months of 1983 to a mother who was 21 and a father who was 38. My mother was uneducated and mentally handicap, and my father was over educated with a controlling side. He hooked up with my mother sometime around her 18th birthday. I was born a few years later. The stories I have been told lead me to believe we lived in the woods until I was 6 months old when DSS/CPS took me because I was malnourished. I was returned to my mother a few months later with the condition that she remain in the home with her mother. This lasted for as long as there was a requirement. As soon as they left her alone she returned to my father. I will save you all the details, because they would likely make you uncomfortable and make the Hubpages and Google bots unpublish this article. To put it simply I was physically, mentally, and sexually abused from my earliest memories until I went into foster care at 14. In one day I lost my home, my mother, my dog, the abuse stopped, and I was left in a swirling cloud of confusion, gratefulness, emptiness, and fear.

Being The Other Child

So I went from being an abused child to being the other child in each and every foster home. Have you ever walked into a room when other people were talking and everyone gets quiet? That’s what walking into a foster home is like. That moment of uncomfortableness that just makes you feel off inside, like you don’t belong. 32 placements and I never felt like I belonged. Every time I walked into that new placement there was a little voice inside my head that hoped they would want me, that they would keep me. Maybe if I was good enough, or if I acted like their blood children they would adopt me. Time after time I tried to be the me they would want me to be. I tried being good. I tired showing them I could help around the house. I tried showing them I could fit in. It just wasn’t ever enough. No matter what I did it was never good enough for them to adopt me. I was disposable and unwanted, a sad feeling that has haunted me ever since. 32 placements later I was a 19 year old coming out of a lot of messed up homes with no one to call mom and dad. No one to be there for me when I needed help or advice. I went from being the abused kid to being the other kid, to being the alone grown up.

The year I came out of Foster Care
The year I came out of Foster Care | Source

What It REALLY Feels Like Never Getting Adopted

I remember the 15 year old me. The one that was seriously badass (I say that in the most sarcastic way possible). I didn’t take anything from anyone. I didn’t need anyone else to help me because I could do everything myself. I could handle my own issues, so I thought. I think I knew then, just as I do now, that pretending to be strong kept me from being hurt. It kept me from dealing with them not wanting me. It helped hide the pain of loneliness from the world. I became bitter, and to this day I am pretty sure that is what kept me from getting adopted.

Here I am 16 years later and it’s amazing how much of that personality has stayed. I’m not bitter anymore thankfully, but I still hold myself to an expectation that is higher than it ever should be. I still block the world out. I still distance myself from everyone.

The reality is never getting adopted really feels lonely. Knowing that the only parents I had never really wanted me, and out of 32 placements no one thought I was good enough to keep me is depressing. It makes me wonder what was/is wrong with me.

The Family I made for myself is pretty freaking cute if I do say so myself!
The Family I made for myself is pretty freaking cute if I do say so myself! | Source

Is Not Getting Adopted Really All That Bad?

The bottom line really isn’t as depressing as it sounds. It has its moments that are still sad, holidays, birthdays, and important events. Most of the time though I am happy. The fact that I didn’t get adopted is disappointing, but it makes me stronger. I have a family that I made for myself. A family that is really awesome if I do say so myself. I created what I needed. I found someone that thinks I am worth keeping. I found someone who taught me that my worth isn’t made based on if I have parents or not. Not getting adopted is sad, but it’s also empowering. It’s amazing how the lack of something can create something good. Not being adopted just makes me have to find more original ways of creating what I need!


Source

I never found anything more than a temporary home until I grew up

More by this Author


39 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

I don't know if you know this, but in case you don't, hear me now: I admire you greatly, and I'm proud to call you my friend. I think you know enough about me to know that's not bullshit. You are good people. :)


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

and thank you for sharing my article.

I was in nine foster homes by the time I was nine months old, but I don't remember any of them....still, and I think you'll understand this, the message was ingrained on my psyche....nine families didn't think I was lovable enough to keep...nine families saw something in me that was broken and unworthy....those messages will play in a person's head over and over and over again....so yes, I get it.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Somehow I have always been so grateful to have been adopted. And I did not know just how lucky I was until I was an adult. This is a great hub, thank you for writing it.


peeples profile image

peeples 2 years ago from South Carolina Author

Bill, those messages do play over and over again. I'm thankful that over the years it plays less and less. I doubt that feeling of not being good enough will ever fully go away, but it does happen a lot less! I'm sure you get it and I am sorry you do! But hey, neither of us turned out half bad so I guess that says something! Thanks for coming by!

Eric, I can't imagine actually being adopted. I am sure when young it must be confusing. I am glad you were adopted and were able to have a family! Thanks for commenting!


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Thank you for sharing this part of your life--the pain gets smaller I think--and at some point in time we can fold it up and put it in a pocket--we feel it --but not with the enormity of feeling that perhaps we once did--you are strong--perhaps stronger than you realize--and it is that strength that will guide and protect you--


Laura335 profile image

Laura335 2 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

I'm so glad that your story has a happy ending. That's what I took from your Hub. Thanks for sharing.


kljones86 profile image

kljones86 2 years ago from colorado

Very good hub, well done!


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

Thank you for your bravery in telling your story. I came from a dysfunctional family and had an unhappy childhood. Here I am now in my 60's still trying to come to terms with it. I am only now realizing what I missed out on. When I see fathers and mothers who love their children, I feel so sad that I did not have that. Be proud of yourself for doing well in life despite your unhappy beginnings. Voted up and interesting.


mdscoggins profile image

mdscoggins 2 years ago from Fresno, CA

Thank you for sharing a painful part of your life - that took great courage. Parents have the ability to create tremendous and unspeakable turmoil in children's lives and minds, though you have found the meaning of the struggle and have persevered beyond their destruction and that is profound. Strength cannot even sum up what you have gained from all this. What an awesome story :)


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 2 years ago

Hey Peeps .......I haven't been around much lately , but I have always been interested in your hubs . As I read this hub I realized something , You could almost let a child's raising be done completely by themselves , without the intervention of others , than to "installed" into any of the mostly dysfunctional places that social services puts them ! You my friend are such a unique treasure - one who has taken a broken childhood and fixed it themselves and all on your own , you say that you have found the "perfect family " ! I know that life is always an ongoing challenge but you are winning it hands down. As a sixty year old man , from my own dysfunctional childhood . I say , you are a hero ! You alone stepped up to the plate and nailed it out of the park. And the best part is you have your children to show for your awesome accomplishment !..........Ed


peeples profile image

peeples 2 years ago from South Carolina Author

Audrey I am beyond happy that it does in fact get smaller! It becomes a guiding tool to being happier! Thank you for commenting!


peeples profile image

peeples 2 years ago from South Carolina Author

@Laura, Thanks for reading!! @Catherine, I am sorry you went through that! Thanks for coming by. @md It really is amazing sometimes how a few years of life can cause reactions for so many years afterwards. Thanks for your comment! @Laura Thank you for taking in the positive! @Klg Thank you!

@Ed you are always far too kind!! I am just trying to provide a better and less messed up childhood for my children. Having them was a selfish choice, I have to make sure raising them isn't! As always thank you for making time to come by and read!


Hooks and Needles profile image

Hooks and Needles 2 years ago

It is sad that you never got adopted. I've seen the other side of foster care. My niece would love to adopt a child, but she'll get attached to them and then they give them back to the parents. I wish it would all work out better.


LadyFiddler profile image

LadyFiddler 2 years ago from Somewhere in the West

Hi Peeples i know we did not have a good start off here due to difference in beliefs. I was really touched by reading your hub and i did not realize it was your hub until i reached to the bottom. I am really sorry about the things you went through, sometimes we think that we have problems but there are other people out there going through a lot more or have gone through a lot . To make it out to the top.

Now i can relate to why you do not share the same beliefs as me you are hurting..... . Whenever i hear someone has been sexually abuse i think its so atrocious , how can people do these things to innocent children? These things destroy people lives forever.

I would also like to apologize for my earlier offences to you, its because i did not understand why you were like that. This hub has made me understand you better. You've got a lovely family

I will still keep you in my prayer though i know you don't really believe in that. Everything we go through in this life is for a purpose we don't always see it that time............ but in a sense if you had been adopted maybe you would have been in some other state etc and you would not have met your husband and have these lovely kids. So out of bad comes forth good many times.

Thanks for sharing

Take care!!


peeples profile image

peeples 2 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hooks, it truly is a backwards system. I have yet to understand why they have yet to figure out a way to make better matches in foster care.

@Lady, I greatly appreciate your comment and apology. In my life I have repeatedly been told my childhood happened because of a plan that was made by god. It makes it hard to understand. I don't ever disagree just to be rude. I am married to a wonderful Christian man. So much of my adult life has been trying to understand his belief, and have other Christians understand my belief in a way like my husband does. Please do keep me in your prayers, I may just be wrong and need those prayers. I am not all knowing and won't pretend to be. Every little bit counts!! My husband and I have talked many times about where I would have ended up if I would have been adopted. you are correct, I may wouldn't have ever found my husband or had my children. So it seams everything has worked out in many ways. Thank you for reading and commenting!


LadyFiddler profile image

LadyFiddler 2 years ago from Somewhere in the West

Okay no problem my dear ..... I guess we cannot make you see it as we are seeing but if God is real maybe someday He will reveal himself to you in his own way. So i respect your stance because in your mind you want to know how can God sit by and let all of the things that happened to you happen. you cannot understand, i am cool with that.

I still have hope things can change. As for now i will respect your views.

Have a wonderful day :)


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

Peeples, it's amazing how strong the human spirit really is. You overcame your loneliness and self-doubt. You now have a beautiful family of your own to love and cherish. You should be very proud of yourself.


belleart profile image

belleart 2 years ago from Ireland

Wow, So touched by this hub. I too spent over ten years in foster care, although it was with the same family, and not at all a happy ten years, it took me a long time to come to terms with my childhood, and now that I finally have I'm much happier. I haven't forgiven, and I certainly wont forget, but I can definitely move on. Im so glad you did too. As for your religious beliefs being somehow affected by your childhood I was greatly concerned about. Ladyfiddler, a persons 'troubled' background does not have to affect religious beliefs, a persons belief system does that. I do not believe in god because I simply don't need that reassurance, that there is a place for us all after death. It has nothing to do with my childhood, nor should Peeples childhood solely be the cause of her 'loss of faith'.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago

Oh, Peeples, what a touching story. You are the bravest person I know to tell your story like it is. I do think one thing you and Billybuc have in common is that it wasn’t you who kept you from being adopted. (He said he was in nine foster homes in nine months before he was nine months old.) Some people are in it for the money and would never adopt a child anyway because the money ends and the expenses begin.

You were such a beautiful child, and still a lovely woman. Your creations are lovely, and I’m so happy you have found someone who loves you for who you are and helped you create a new permanent family. Voted up and awesome for an awesome woman.


Sed-me profile image

Sed-me 2 years ago from An undisclosed location.

I know this is a crazy post to make, but I know this article is going to be incredible... and I feel like I can't read it yet. I have tried to read it twice, but I can't get past the title and the pic of you as a little girl, before I feel too much emotion flooding and I have to stop. But I don't want to forget to come back and read it. God bless you peeples.


peeples profile image

peeples 2 years ago from South Carolina Author

@Brave Thank you very much. I do love them! @belleart I am sorry that you had to experience that, and very glad that you were able to move past it. That's all we really can do if we want to be happy! @Miz, I so love when you come by! You are right. Over the years I have learned, It wasn't me. Thank you for your kind words! Take care! @Sed-me thank you for taking time out to post. I did my best to refrain from making this post overly sad or detailed because I know it makes HP uncomfortable, but there isn't a lot that can be done to make my childhood sound nice. I am glad you at least came by and took time to comment. Thank you!


Sed-me profile image

Sed-me 2 years ago from An undisclosed location.

Im gonna read it!!! I just gotta gear up. I hate to think of that little redhead hurting.


LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia

If you'd come to my house, peeples, you'd still be here!! Okay, so maybe I would have allowed you to venture out once in a blue moon ... but you know what I mean.

I have already adopted you in my own strange way. I was looking for one of your hubs to write on to check if you still have the same email address and found this one. So, here's my question ... Do I send my Xmas gifts to you and your kids via the same email? Don't want any delay in you receiving them.

Yep, I've adopted your whole awesome family. :)


peeples profile image

peeples 2 years ago from South Carolina Author

As usual LTM, You are too kind!! You certainly have become like my internet mom, if you don't mind me saying!! I will send you a private email now!


peeples profile image

peeples 2 years ago from South Carolina Author

I've emailed you at the same email address we have talked through before.


techygran profile image

techygran 24 months ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

Dear peeples... this was a very emotionally-intelligent piece that you wrote about your own pain and the decision you made somewhere along the way to heal and to thrive. I won't labour the point, but I was married for 23 years to a strong believing Christian before I could hear and respond to the Holy Spirit through all the static of my own insecure past. The only regret I have is that my children did not have the opportunity to grow up in a home in which we all worshipped as a family-- surely, when it is genuine, the most intimacy and security that any family can know.

I look forward to reading more of what you have to write. I have voted you up++, pinned and shared. All the best, Cynthia


LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 24 months ago from Australia

Oh, gee. I just saw your comment about me being like your internet mom. That's lovely.

I'd be proud to be your internet mom, peeples. Given the chance, I'd have been your foster mom and your adoptive mother as well! For the life of me I can't understand how 32 families were too stupid to see the wonderful young woman you would ultimately become. I am stunned that not one of those many adults took the chance to welcome you into their lives.

In the early 90's I had a 10-year-old with a history not much different to yours join my family for a few years. I would have kept her forever but her natural mother reclaimed her. She'd never lived full-time with her mother (initially raised by grandparents who did a very poor job of it, and then into the foster care system) and when she had the chance, she really wanted to try living with her mother. I didn't think it would work, but I understood.

At the time she came to our house, nobody else would have her. She lied, she stole, she wet the bed, she refused to behave at school ... and she'd been living in a residential institution full-time because no family could see what a wonderful kid she was.

I loved her. She was great! So intelligent and creative.

It took a while for her to accept that she was going to be treated just like the other girls, not like a visitor ... but as soon as she could see she was a real part of our family, she just fit right in. I wasn't allowed to adopt her, but after a while - with the foster agency's agreement - we changed her to a new school (where nobody knew she'd been a thief and a liar) and enrolled her under my surname. We had all her pencils stamped with her new name in gold letters. Her new life had begun. It was great!!

It broke my heart when she left, but I was so proud of her. She proved to herself - and every other doubter - that she was a good and worthy person. As far as I was concerned, I was her mum and my kids were her sisters. She knew that. We talked a lot about how she'd be an adult one day with kids of her own ... and I tried to put her awful early years into perspective so they wouldn't get in the way of her future happiness.

A few years ago one of my daughters tracked her down via facebook and gave me her phone number so I could call her on her 30th birthday. We reflected on our years together and what a change those years made - for both of us. She told me how she teaches her children things that I taught her ... and how she uses the same method to help them know what's right and wrong.

She was sobbing one day after getting in trouble at school, and told me she didn't know what was right and wrong because no-one had ever told her. (It was soon after announcing she'd like to call me 'mum' instead of by my first name.) I said I wanted her to ask herself, "Would mum want me to do this?" If she thought the answer was 'yes', then she should do it. If she thought I'd say no or would have reasons why she should do things differently, she should listen to my voice in her head before making her decision.

Oh, the times I laughed as my gorgeous girl recounted her most recent dilemma at school - and the things her head told her I would say. lol.

One of my great regrets in life is not being old enough and wise enough at the time to have moved mountains to keep her with me. I wish I had. I understood where she came from and what she needed. I just didn't understand how the foster system worked, and I was forced to miss out on those vital teenage years that could have made an even greater difference.

Her relationship with her natural mother failed - no fault of hers. Instead of telling me that she was available again, they placed her in the home of one of the foster agency's staff. (See what a great kid she'd become! How often do the staff want to take kids home??) She liked the lady, and in theory that could have worked out okay. It didn't, but I didn't know of her troubles there until too many years later.

Anyway, the reason why I'm telling you this is because I think many of her problems in foster families up until the time she joined our family could be attributed to her being far more intelligent and creative than the families she was placed with. (Just as I suspect may have happened with you!)

True, she was doing really badly at school. But she was clearly intelligent and creative in the ways she'd get into trouble. She could tell the most extraordinary and engaging lies. She came to our home a few days after my first book was published. I told her I believed she could be a great author, much better than me, and encouraged her to differentiate between fact and fiction. Nothing wrong with making up stories, I told her, as long as you remember to keep them out of your true-life tales.

So instead of punishing her for lying (as every other foster family had), I would give her the chance to start a story again. (We had an agreement that she would never tell me lies because I needed to trust her, just as much as she needed to trust me. She understood that concept.)

In the early days I would often ask her if she was telling me a true story or a made-up story. She could have as much time as she needed to think about it, but when she spoke she had to be honest. She was either telling me fact or fiction. We could have great fun with make-believe, but if I needed an honest answer she had to stick to the rules.

So I would ask, "Do you want to start this story again?" and she'd nod and get serious. It didn't take long before she'd interrupt herself to say, "By the way mum, this isn't a true story. I just want you to know that." Or she'd stop mid-sentence and ask, "Can I start again, please?"

I never once accused her of lying. How could I know whether something she said about her past, for instance, was true or not? I'd not been there. With time, however, she trusted me enough to tell me the truth. The happy stories were the fantasies. The truth was much more ugly.

I didn't make a big deal of it at the time, but I was so incredibly proud of her as I sat beside her in the Public Prosecutor's Office as she answered questions about her earlier experiences with a pedophile. She was strong and confident enough to tell the truth.

She knew that she could tell the truth about what happened and how she felt without being embarrassed or afraid of what others (particularly me) would think of her. She'd had enough practice at shaking off the defensive lies to present her nuggets of fact unblemished. She was so effective and did such a good job. And afterwards, she felt good and proud for not being scared.

She became so responsible. She'd take me aside and say, "I don't want my sisters to hear this, mum, but there's something I have to tell you." How lovely to have a child share their secrets. One such secret was that she'd spotted tadpoles and frogs at some distance from the house. She thought it would be really good for the other girls to see - but she was worried the little one might wander off looking for frogs later, and then some bad person might kidnap her.

I let her show me from a distance (very exciting) and then I distracted the pre-schooler while the older girls went to see if they could catch some in a jar and bring it back to show the little one.

They caught. They showed. They went back and released them. We all learned from the experience.

I know how easily my much-loved foster daughter could have had the same kind of life as yours, peeples. I am so sorry you had to endure your entire childhood without love and support. I am so sorry that nobody stepped up and said, "Come join my family."

You are a remarkable woman. I do hope you know how much I respect and admire you. From the first time I read one of your hubs, I informally adopted you. I could see how brave and strong you were.

Yet I wasn't consciously aware of the link between the two of you until now. Funny how memories are triggered.

Thanks for making me your iMom.

:)


peeples profile image

peeples 24 months ago from South Carolina Author

@Cynthia Thank you. I am glad that you were able to find someone that made you complete. I am happy that you were able to find something that helped remove the insecurities.

@LTM, you've made me cry! I can so relate to what that young woman was when she was a child. It is certainly hard to be a "good child" when no one ever took the time to teach how or what good was supposed to be. One thing I think many foster parents fail to realize is how much even a temporary home can change a foster child. A few good months can impact a child for the rest of their lives. I was a "bad kid" in many ways. I know that looking back, and I know that I wasn't really a bad kid through my own faults but through what I had been brought up around. I am glad I have been fortunate enough to meet so many amazing people on the internet, but you are certainly one of a kind! The respect goes both ways!! I am glad you have come into my life, even if it is through a screen so many miles away. Ya know, I have always wanted to go to Australia! When the kids get a bit older you may have given me the excuse I have always needed to make the journey!


Sara Jofre profile image

Sara Jofre 23 months ago from Portugal

OMG you just made me cry here! You are a great person! I'm so glad you are a happy person with three beautiful loved children. You should be an example for what abused people are able to do, for how "your past doesn't define your future". I admire you greatly!


LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 23 months ago from Australia

It is New Years Eve here in Australia (a little past midnight) and I've just spotted your reply. lol.

I think a trip to Australia is a very good idea!!! Put it on your list of things to do. No hurry ... there will always be kangaroos in my garden for your kids to see. :)

Happy New Year!


TheBizWhiz 22 months ago

All I can say is WOW, that was a powerful Hub. I hate that people have to go through that. I love that you were able to find some peace and something positive. I hope that you can keep being blessed.


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 18 months ago from Midwest

This made me choke up and I have to add that I think you turned out incredibly well and I admire those who use their challenges to better themselves. You always show courage in sharing your story and I am sure, whether you realize it or not, you help more people than you know. I hope you know that you make a difference in this world, and that you do indeed have value that extends beyond just the lovely family you have created.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 18 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Well, Thanks a lot Christin. You just made me cry too!


peeples profile image

peeples 18 months ago from South Carolina Author

Thanks so much Biz and Christin. I don't know if I help anyone, but I certainly hope I do at some point, even if it is just one person. Christin, I have to admit self esteem isn't exactly my strong point. It never has. I have trouble finding myself valuable outside of my family, but I really hope you are right! Thank you! I needed that this morning!


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 18 months ago from Home Sweet Home

your hub title caught me, great story


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 17 months ago from Long Island, NY

Your story tells a lot about the feelings behind the kind of beginnings that you had. You made a different and interesting way of examining it, from the point of view of never getting adopted, and staying in foster care. I hope I understood that correctly.

If I may say my opinion, I don't think it had anything to do with you not being wanted. I think the people who volunteer in foster care do so on a temporary basis. I could be wrong as I don't know much about it. But I feel that could be a reason why you kept being moved from one foster care to another. And the short time in each did not give anyone a chance to learn how wonderful you are, or to understand how the way you were treated affected your behavior.

Be proud of yourself for having the strength and the courage to become the creative person that you are today.


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 17 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Hi Peoples - Your story tugs at the heart, but has a happy ending. It seems like foster care can be a difficult place to be. In my state, some foster parents have created problems, so it depends on what your foster care was like in your time. There are good and bad ones. You are a good person and always were. If no one wanted to adopt you, it was that person's loss. I admire your strength and your stamina. You are a survivor. Sharing - Blessings, Audrey


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 17 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Well...I am 95% certain I commented here ( in addition to my comment to Christin)....I remember the hub, the pictures of your darling kids and the comments I read that all made me cry.

Obviously once AGAIN I left the site before "posting." I don't know how I do that so often!

Sorry...but I'm back anyway so I guess it's OK.

I can only echo what everyone has shared with you peeples. You are an amazing young woman with courage & a HUGE heart. Your maturity as a child is something to be very proud of and I hope you are!

Things happen as they do in our lives, whether we ever find reasons or we don't. It's making the very most of all of it, good & bad that proves to the world we are worthy, valuable and LOVED.

I'm as proud of you as if you were my own child!.....Good health & happiness to you and your precious family always.....Peace, Paula


greeneyedblondie profile image

greeneyedblondie 12 months ago

I've always wondered about people like this. There are usually only stories of people adopting those in foster care and how "saint like" they are. I've never heard this side of the story. I'm not old enough now, but someday I'd like to foster teenagers and older children since no one else wants to.

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