My first major holiday in Foster Care I had was Halloween! Most kids my age would be going to haunted houses or go trick or treating on Halloween. However, I live in a group home like many foster kids do. The holidays in foster care are especially hard for kids who have just been put in foster care or kids who’ve been in foster care for a long time. Many people don’t realize how many teens are in foster care from ages 12-18. A lot of these teens have endured lots of abuse and trauma. As a former foster kid, I can say that the holiday is the most painful time of the year for us.
I had just turned 16 when I had my first Christmas away from my sisters. The days leading up to Christmas was filled with so much guilt, pain, and hurt that I had a hard time not being in tears every day multiple time a day. Living in my first group home I was just getting adjusted back into society after being in a residential treatment center for over a year and a half. As Christmas crept closer I kept blaming myself for not being able to see my sisters as I thought at the time my being in foster care was my fault. The real reason that I was in foster care I didn’t know until years later. The morning of Christmas I woke up and looked over at my desk across the room and I saw the pictures I had of my sisters and me. I sat there at 7 am crying thinking about how hard it was to be away from my sisters and I thought it was my fault. I got the courage to eventually come out of my room and experience Christmas without them with me in foster care. Even though I had my friend there I was still lonely without my sisters.
As the day went on it wasn’t like most Christmas’s others were having with their friends and family. We had staff there who switched shifts 3 different times a day and for the most part, it was quiet but all of us were very emotional and we all got together and supported each other like we were family cause we were all we had at that house.
Remember as the holidays come, foster kids just want to make the most of the holidays as they experience hurt, guilt, pain, and sadness as they experience what many others don’t have to experience during the holidays. Many are in group homes, youth shelters, residential treatment programs, independent living programs, juvenile detention centers, or even foster homes. However, the difference between all of these is they aren’t with who they grew up with, who they feel safe with, who they love, or maybe they have just gotten out of a very bad situation that was abusive or neglectful and they never knew love so maybe they are feeling love or they are scared. No matter what the situation is these kids need care, attention, respect, and most of all they need to feel loved.
If you are looking to help a foster kid in need head on down to your local school or your local social services office to see if they have any foster kids in need of some assistance to make them feel like they are loved like every kid should… Or you contact Upsidedown Movements on how to help a kid in need this season!