Michael has been in Wisconsin foster care since age 18 months. At 16, he hopes to find a permanent placement with foster parents who will care for him until he turns 18. Michael has not had a relationship with his biological mother since he was removed from the home 15 years ago. He has lived with various individuals in four states, ranging from family members to non-relative caregivers. Unfortunately, he is unable to recount the number of homes he has lived in over the years. His story may encourage you to consider fostering a teen.
The county foster care agency handling Michael's case has made contact with Michael's mother. She has indicated that she would like to care for Michael; however, she has three open petitions for her three youngest children due to substance abuse. All three of the children are in foster care. Mom has a total of seven children, none of which are in her care. She continues to struggle with substance abuse and has not attempted to contact Michael. When asked why she doesn't want contact with her son, she said, "there is no reason."
Michael has six half-siblings; however, he is in contact with just one half-sister currently living in another state. The agency has been supportive of Michael having telephone contact with her if he wishes. There is also one teacher located in another state that has kept in contact with Michael during his time in foster care.
Mom's inability to provide necessary and basic care to Michael resulted in the initial removal from the home. Neglect is the number one reason kids are removed from their families. Michael's biological father has never returned agency phone calls or contacted Michael but seems aware of the agency's involvement.
Michael attends counseling weekly and is said to have a good relationship with his current therapist. Therapeutic foster care has been helpful to Michael as he struggles with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and is diagnosed with ADHD. Michael has admitted to being a victim of sexual abuse during a recent psychological evaluation. However, he would not provide details or information. The current therapist has concerns that Michael may struggle with attachment and relationships with others. This is not surprising due to his history of neglect, abuse, and abandonment by multiple adults, including his mother.
Michael has bounced around a lot while in foster care. Because of this, he has had a lot of doors closed on him. It is believed that the said door closings have not been due to Michael's behaviors or character, but because of the choices and situations of the adults giving upon him. He has not chided those who have let him down, including his mother. Michael has stated that he hopes his mom can get her act together, not so that he can reunite with her, but so that her younger children won't have to go through what he has.
Michael seems focused on moving forward in life and tries his best to not look back or wallow in self-pity. His wish is to be placed in a home that will accept him for who he is and allow him to get a job. He thinks it is a good time to earn money for himself. Michael has a good understanding of his struggles and behaviors because of his traumatic childhood experiences. He wants to be with a family that will help him build a future. Michael likes Wisconsin and is not interested in returning to any of the three states he has lived. Michael would love to play basketball in school and knows that with help, he can do better with his school work. He is a very competitive person and does not easily give up on things. He dreams of playing in the NBA but knows that his dream is a one in a million chance. If he doesn't make it to the NBA he is interested in welding or joining the military.
Michael has never allowed the struggles of his family to stand in his way of keeping a positive attitude. He continues to look forward and hopes to find a family that is kind and stable. Michael is a dreamer and sees himself succeeding at whatever he takes on in the future. Workers who know Michael are astonished by his positivity and perseverance. All who have met him are confident he will be successful in life. In addition, all agree Michael would benefit greatly by finding a foster family that will stay with him after his time in foster care.
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*The name of this child has been changed for purposes of this blog. However, his history and family history have been taken directly from this child's extensive file.