On the surface, the first five years of my life looked wonderful as I had the loving support of my parents and siblings. However, my mother’s schizophrenia affected my father, a Vietnam War veteran, who resorted to alcohol to handle the stress of caring for a mentally ill spouse. I was removed from my family and set adrift from foster home to foster home for eight years. I felt alone and confused, continually moving without a stable environment with no permanent family and no sense of security.
When thinking about the perceptions of foster care, a number of descriptors and experiences come to mind, but one in particular I wasn’t prepared for: loneliness.
We are honored that the readers of Bittersweet Monthly selected Family & Youth Initiative as this month's featured organization.
Bittersweet Creative uses beautiful photos and prose to quickly tell the story of "organizations doing inspiring and much needed work in response to the critical social issues of our day."
Recently, Family & Youth Initiative has received many new teen referrals - teens who are lost in foster care without adult support, even one who is days away from aging out with no real plan in place. We are grateful that social workers (and others) are referring new teens because they see the impact we have on the lives of teens.
But the reality is that we need more mentors, host families and adoptive families to meet the needs of teens being referred.