My mom had a hard time taking care of me all my life, but starting about three years ago it got real bad, so she took me to my Grandma’s one day because my Grandma took care of my other siblings and cousins. My older relatives living with Grandma were in frequent trouble with the law, and soon I got involved with some of their illegal activities as well. Then one day I had to go to court because I got caught shoplifting with my older cousins. I knew I was in trouble that day, but I had no idea that it might be the last time I ever stayed with my Grandma again. The judge ordered me (and all of my siblings and cousins) into foster care that very afternoon, and after several hours of confusion I was placed in a family in a different county and different school district. I didn’t know where they took my siblings and cousins.
In the first foster home I stayed, they were nice but very strict—in many way, their home was the very opposite of what I was used to. I was kicked out of there after 7 days, for taking food and then for taking a $10 bill. They said I’d “never change.” I then went to another home with white foster parents, who seemed to accept me. I would steal and hoard and they’d deal with it and move on. I thought they would keep me a long time. Then I went on my first unsupervised home visit to my Grandma’s house and things changed.
My home visit was supposed to be for just 2 hours, but it ended up being 8 by the time my new “foster dad” got me—not that I minded the extra time with my family. I asked him why it took so long for him to arrive, and he just said that he had a doctor appointment and had told the social worker it would be longer than two hours before he could get me; however, no one had told me that. I loved being back at my Grandma’s house, and so when it was time to leave I refused to go. But Grandma forced me to go, angrily telling me we’d both be in trouble if I didn’t. I felt like maybe she didn’t want me there because she didn’t fight hard enough for me to stay.
I didn’t say a word on the way back to the foster home, not a single one. The foster dad tried to get me to talk, but I was too sad and mad—sad about leaving, and mad that I had to. When we got to the foster home, he told me (not asked me) to take a shower. I refused. His wife then came in and said I had to. I said I don’t have to do anything. Soon their adult daughter came to the house from down the street and started yelling at me too, telling me to listen to her parents. They threated to keep me from my next visit with my grandma and siblings if I didn’t do what they said. I lost it. I told them I had rights and told them I’d cut them if they kept me from my own family. They yelled louder, and I yelled louder, and they called the police. They said I didn’t appreciate anything they’d done for me, that they gave me a roof and food and clothing and that I lived in a better place than my own family could ever provide, and this was how I repaid them?
By the time the police arrived that night at the foster home, the foster parents already had all of my things packed. I heard the foster mom yelling into the phone to her supervisor when the police arrived: “HE CAN’T STAY HERE TONIGHT. HE’S GOT TO GET OUT NOW!!” They pressed charges on me for "communicating threats." It was 11:00 at night on a school night when I was taken away. They took me that night to stay in another foster home, the one I’d been kicked out of a few weeks earlier. Then for the next few nights, I stayed in a foster home about an hour away with some new people until they found another foster home for me, which was even further away from my Grandma and siblings and cousins than the previous two.
I’m now in a new foster home. I haven’t unpacked anything since I got here. I’m going to turn 11 in two weeks. I hope I’ll get some presents on my birthday, but I really don’t know where I’ll be on that day.