The foster care system in America is interesting, to say the least. There is this broad idea that the system is “bad” but in what specific ways? Is it just a few bad foster parents or is the entire system skewed? What about the adoption system? Is it just as bad? I decided to dive headfirst into a few podcasts on the subject to see what I could learn and if I could have a better understanding of what is going on behind closed doors, what the families go through and what the kids endure.
Foster children do not have a specific race, gender, or religion. Children are placed in foster care for many different reasons. It could be as simple as the parents passing away or as difficult as the parent willingly wanting to give up their parental rights. Whatever the case may be, foster care can either make or break a child’s future and, unfortunately, the current foster care system typically breaks it. Foster care systems are even known to go as far as to break up foster children from their foster families despite the two parties getting along extremely well. Actions like this can and will have serious repercussions on a child that can be lifelong.
Sometimes, it isn’t even the direct act of doing something to a child in the system but the structure of the system itself that impacts the child forever. Splitting up a child from a family is detrimental in itself but forcing the child to jump from foster family to foster family, school to school, and not allowing the child the decency to have some meager sense of stability is typically the starting point for ruining a child. The way the system is set up and inadvertently have a somewhat positive outcome such as giving the child a reason to promote advocacy. However, it can also go the other way and bring something much less positive. The outcome of the child depends on two things: the system and the child themselves. However, there is a way out of the system but it isn’t easy.
Some kids are actually adopted, whether as an infant or older. The older the child is, the more difficult it is to actually have that child become adopted simply due to how the system is laid out. While adoption seems like the best outcome, it doesn’t come without its struggles. When it comes to the process of adoption, both the mother and the child will struggle. “Adoption is a blessing born from loss” is a quote I’ve heard at some point in my life that I feel fits the description rather well.
Of all the podcasts I had listened to and all of the websites I looked into, what I’ve learned is that the system desperately needs to be changed and updated. The way it’s currently running is just no longer working and, for the sake of the kids in the system and for the sake of the future generation, it needs to be better formatted to fit the needs of those in it. Foster care shouldn’t have the detrimental effects it currently has. Children should be well equipped to become functioning adults once they’re out of the system. They should be able to continue their basic education. Something needs to change and the best way to bring about that change is, in fact, advocacy and research.