"My foster parents taught me so much about myself"
Being somebody who never would have imagined going through foster care, I can proudly say I was placed in a foster home where I chose to stay until I aged out. It was scary and extremely frustrating at times, but I knew then, and I continue to know now that it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.
My foster parents, Colleen and Dan, taught me so much about myself, and I am forever thankful. My case manager, Ms. Wanda, almost always said something I didn’t like. But all of those things that she said really helped me shape how I want to live the rest of my life. I knew that the best way for me to fulfill my future was to become a social worker and eventually becoming a foster parent. These three people along with many more are the main reasons why I am where I am in life, and it was the greatest gift I could have ever been given. I want to be able to provide that same exact gift to people who were in my shoes.
I was able to do my internship at Dane County Human Services and work in the Independent Living Department, doing exactly what Wanda was able to help me with. It was so cool to be able to say I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum! I just graduated from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a bachelor’s degree in social work and a minor in Spanish. I’m SO excited to see where I end up as the young woman my foster family has helped me become today!
’Kayleigh, Juneau County, WI
I was placed in a CCR foster home when I was 13 years old. Before my placement with my last foster family, I had been in foster care for most of my life, in 16 different placements since I was just 4 years old. I was having a lot of problems, and my mom was struggling to take care of me. I had been a victim of sexual abuse and was acting out all of the anger that I felt inside. I was lashing out at people, running away, stealing, experimenting with marijuana and getting into trouble with the law. Even though I knew I could do better if I tried, I was really struggling in school too, not attending all of my classes and getting suspended for bad behavior. I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere and that nobody wanted me or cared.
For the first year and a half, I continued to struggle and really tested my foster parents, thinking they would eventually have me removed. I was verbally aggressive and defiant, slammed doors, stomped around, complained about everyone and everything, refused to comply with even basic directions, and generally had a very negative attitude. When anyone confronted me about it, I would become extremely defensive or totally shut down.
I eventually began to see that they were not giving up on me. I felt like they were willing to accept me for who I was and give me a chance and I realized that I had the ability to turn my life around if I wanted to. I also realized that I had some positive qualities that would help me to make the changes that I needed to make. I knew I was smart ’ I had been on the B honor roll at least once before. I also learned that I was a good communicator and could stand up for myself, I loved to sing and dance and people considered me to be mature and likeable. I made a lot of progress in the foster home with expressing my emotions in a healthy way and began to trust adults, succeed academically, and participate in typical healthy teen activities. I was also participating in therapy with my foster mom and learning to work through my feelings in healthier ways.
I was with my foster family for 4 years when they became my legal guardians. I no longer thought of my foster parents as such, but more like my real parents. The unconditional support that they gave me allowed me to grow and be successful. After high school graduation I attended UW-Platteville. I have remained close to my family, and know that they will always be there for me.
’Kellie, Grant County, WI
’After my sophomore year is when things really started happening for me. I felt like I was a part of something, I was starting to get love from my foster parents. My case worker from CCR was there for me 100 percent throughout everything. My junior and senior year, I really just started turning things around. With CCR there is always somebody there to help you, there is always somebody there to stand by your side, to stick up for you at all times. ’My social worker was always there for me.’
’John, Eau Claire County, WI.