Many Secrets of a Foster Child

My childhood was probably very similar to many of the children in foster care today.  I was a happy baby girl and had a very rambunctious little brother (Jeff), but around us there were many moments of strife, sadness and mental illness.  My parents were average hard-working people, but I remember …


I can’t help but notice the big grin on my face, the lack of a car seat and my favorite Raggedy Ann doll on the seat beside me (that one stirs my inner child a bit). Can you guess what kind of car this was by the back seat and window?

… the many fights, the smell of beer on my father’s breath, the many beer cans on the tables when I awoke in the morning and I remember how life was when my mother left him.  I remember a couple of my mother’s different boyfriend’s and what they did to me as a toddler. Most of all, I remember the new step father that joined our family promising lots of happy memories.

But, he didn’t create happy memories for us – just the opposite…I remember his beatings and I have vivid memories of hearing him beat my brother and seeing the hand-print bruises on his tiny little face.  I remember the night he left our mobile home to take my 5 year old brother out to the middle of nowhere and leave him on the side of the road — just to punish and scare him–a 5 year old!!  By the grace of God, I’ve been able to work through those memories and keep them from haunting me every day.  Some children aren’t so lucky.

It wasn’t long after that we went to live with a new family.  I stayed with one family for about eight months, but they couldn’t handle my brother, Jeff.  He was probably classified as severely ADHD and emotionally handicapped (as they’d label today), so he bounced from home to home and probably lived in about nine different homes.  We became “Society’s Children” and were raised by other families, mentors or houseparents.  Our lives drastically changed.

On any given day, there are approximately 400,000 children in foster care in the US.  Many of these kids have similar stories of abuse, neglect, abandonment and fear — most importantly, they live with many painful secrets they never have the courage to share.  Many of these kids feel it’s their own fault and if they’d only been “good enough” things would be different.  Some walk around with hatred so strong they wish their parents were dead.  Some kids still, after all the trauma, wish mommy and daddy would bring them home.  Some kids just “function” and try to get through life, figure out how to survive and find their new “normal”.  As a result, it’s important to note that each of these 400,000 kids needs a mentor, needs a warm hug, and some gentle guidance.

I believe that it was because of the countless mentors, houseparents, good role models and great homes I’ve had in my life that have helped me “go down the right path”.  It’s because someone thought it was important to model and develop in me a faith in Christ at an early age.

Do you have a similar story?  Have you had a mentor that has greatly influenced your life?  Have you ever served as a mentor for others?

Until next time, please remember James 1:27



6 thoughts on “Many Secrets of a Foster Child

  1. God was with you…through the sadness and through the madness…and he brought you to the other side of the raging river and to more gentle waters. I’m so glad we have been friends for so many years and I’m so sorry this has happened to you. You know how angry I would get when you shared what happened to you–I could never understand why you were not angry–I was angry because my best bud had been hurt so badly. It still brings tears to my eyes and it breaks my heart that so many children still experience these tragedies…but God is with them too…through the sadness and through the madness…guiding them through the raging waters to hopefully a more gentler time in their lives. God is good and we all need to hold his hand watch watch closely for the angels he places in our lives. You’re brave to share your story and open your wounded heart…but I guess it’s time to trust God will help you heal them and perhaps help heal others through your experiences. Loveya my friend! Melissa

  2. thank you for being my mentor. you cared for me even when I felt like nobody else cared, you accepted me for who I was and never expected me to be anything different but always encourage me to be and do my best. you were my guiding light on a very dark stretch of road.

  3. You are so welcome, Suzzy! You never cease (even then) to amaze me with your perseverance, your enthusiasm and passion. Stay “you”. Your kids are blessed to have you. Hugs!

  4. So beautiful Trish! Thank you for opening your heart and sharing such personal memories. This is a part of our society that it sometimes feels easier to forget. I so appreciate your bringing it to the forefont and allowing your experience to help others and to remind us we too can help. Sending you love and light.

    • Thank you, Dawn. It’s definitely a great need…I’m often bewildered when I speak to people that have never been aware of these needs. Being a personal journey for me, I really look forward to helping others become aware and lend a helping hand. Hugs back to ya!

  5. Pingback: Pain of Losing a Little Brother | Rising Out

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