I never thought I would get out of foster care and survive. I couldn't remember not being in foster care. Then I was placed with a CCR foster family, and this happened...
My name is "Julia." I was placed in a CCR foster home when I was 13 years old. I had been in foster care for most of my life. I lived in 8 different foster homes since I was four years old. I was a victim of sexual abuse at a very young age. Fast forward to my teen years, and I was acting out all of the anger that I felt inside. I was lashing out at people, running away, stealing, and experimenting with weed. Even though I knew I could do better if I tried, I continued to struggle in all areas of my life. I was not attending all of my classes and got suspended for bad behavior more than once. I felt like I didn't belong anywhere and that nobody wanted me or cared.
The first six months in my CCR foster home, I continued to struggle and tested my foster parents at every turn, thinking they would eventually have me removed. I was verbally aggressive and defiant, slammed doors, stomped around, complained about everyone and everything. Then, when anyone confronted me about it, I would become highly defensive or shut down.
I eventually began to see that they were not giving up on me. I began to feel like my foster parents were willing to accept me for who I was and give me a chance. When I stopped fighting them, I began to trust both of them. I realized that I could turn my life around if I wanted to. I also realized that I had some positive qualities that would help me make the changes I needed to make. For example, I knew I was smart because I had been on the B honor roll at least once before and wanted to achieve that again.
I made a lot of progress in the foster home by healthily expressing my emotions and began to trust other adults, succeed academically, and participate in typical, healthy teen activities. I also participated in therapy with my foster mom and learned to work through my feelings in healthier ways.
I was with my foster family for four years when they became my legal guardians. After that, I no longer thought of them as my foster parents but more like my real parents. The unconditional love and support that they gave me allowed me to grow and be successful.
After high school graduation, I attended UW-Platteville. I have remained very close to my family and know that they will always be there for me. Sometimes when I look back, I know for sure God put them in my life to save me. I don't like to think about what would have happened to me if I had not met them. I am very grateful for my family.
* Teens need adults who refuse to give up and will accept and love them through trauma—using trauma-informed parenting techniques works! We have helped thousands of youth like Julia heal and grow. Please get in touch with us and learn the truth about fostering teens. The healing that happens is fantastic.