Last week we helped you #KNOWwhy, this week get to #KNOWme as we personalize the story in an attempt to breakdown the stigmas surrounding "the foster kid."
It’s 12:30am, there’s a knock at the door. You’re 7 years old, and startled awake by the noise. When you went to sleep, mom wasn’t home yet. But usually she was home by now.
Why isn’t she answering the door?
All of a sudden you hear your older brother, Anthony, opening the door and talking to someone whose voice you don’t recognize. You peak out from your bedroom door and you can tell your brother is starting to get upset. He’s only 16, but he’s in charge a lot of the time at home. You get nervous when you see him upset. The stranger walks into the home, a tall man wearing a badge and carrying a folder. You hear him say, “We got a call saying your mother left you and your sister unattended…” You start to feel confused and worried.
But what does that mean?
When mom isn’t home, my brother’s here!
What’s the problem?
All of a sudden, the stranger is telling you to pack up your things in a black trash bag he hands you. “It’s going to be okay” he says “I’m going to take you somewhere safe to stay for the night”.
But am I not safe?
Why do I need to leave my apartment?
How many socks do I need?
Can I bring my blanket?
What about my homework, do I need to bring that?
Will this man take me to school?
I’m so sleepy.
An hour later you arrive at a big building, where you’re asked a lot of questions by more strangers. Most are nice, but there are so many questions. You are given a bag of old goldfish crackers and a juice box. So sleepy. It’s 2am. You’re loaded back into a car and driven to a neighborhood you don’t recognize. Your brother says it’s going to be okay but you’re not so sure. He looks scared too.
The car stops in front of an apartment building. The new stranger who’s driving the car walks you and your brother to Apt 2B. You’re only used to Apt. 8C.
Ms. G is nice. But Apt 2B smells funny. And Ms. G doesn’t read any stories at bedtime. You miss your brother. Anthony had to go live somewhere else. He and Ms. G didn’t get along. Your new school is so different than your old one. Kids at this school already know how to multiply and you can barely add big numbers. It’s hard to concentrate on the homework because your mind keeps being filled with other questions.
When will I get to see mom next?
Why didn’t I pack more socks?
Am I gonna be at Ms. G’s forever?
Will she make me a birthday cake?
Mr. M, your caseworker, comes to visit. He brings bubbles like he said he would. He asks a lot of questions and tells you that mom isn’t going to see you for a little while. He looks kinda sad. You don’t ask any more questions because you’re scared. You want to talk to mom. You start to cry and don’t want Mr. M there anymore.
What did I do wrong?
Why can’t I go home?
What happens next?