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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

An Adopted Teen’s Take on the Foster Care System

By Hope and Adoptive Black Mom

Editor’s note: Hope was adopted when she was a tween. Her mom chronicles her experiences raising Hope in the blog Adoptive Black Mom ( Here, Hope answers some of her mom’s questions about what it has been like for her to go through foster care and adoption.

Do you talk about being adopted much with your friends? Do you notice that you gravitate toward peers that have been adopted?

I have only really talked about it to my friends if a question regarding where I’m from comes up. I have a few friends that are adopted, but that’s something that I usually don’t find out about until we’ve already been friends for some time; so I would say, no, I don’t gravitate toward others who have been adopted.

What do you think would make the foster care system better? What advice would you give to kids first coming into foster care and what would you say to the foster parents as well?

Well, in my opinion, the foster care system needs a lot of work. It’s not the best, although I know that sometimes they are just working with what they are given. I think that the system needs to be more thoughtful about choosing who is eligible to foster because some people do it just because they can get some cash for housing the kid. Sometimes it’s not even the foster parents [who are the problem], but their biological children. I know everyone has a different experience in the system. [For me] it wasn’t all that fantastic but not every home was bad.

I think social workers should be checked. [S]ome of them don’t fulfill their duties and just skim through the process, even though they are supposed to be one person the child is able to look to for help.

As for advice…one thing I definitely would say is to not let the foster parents you are placed with treat you any kind of way; tell your social worker. Don’t run away from your foster home; that’ll probably make it more difficult for them to try and get you adopted, and it will put you in a bad spot. It would be easier to just ask the social worker to move houses if the situation is really not working or if they are just nasty people with a bad attitude.

For the foster parents, if you have biological children and are fostering, please treat [your foster kids] like you would your own children. [Foster kids] are probably already having a difficult time or have had a difficult time. The mistreatment can stick with them and affect them later on, which makes it hard to really trust or believe in any other adults. Pay attention to them and don’t tell them every five seconds what they may or may not be doing wrong. Foster kids need encouragement and positivity to get through it all. Don’t assume you know what they are going through or know what they feel like, regardless of how long you have been fostering. You aren’t them, so just listen to them.

If you were able to chat with kids still waiting for their very own Adoptive Black Mom, how would you coach them up, i.e., help them understand what to expect. How would you help them emotionally prepare for life with a forever family?

Well, for everyone it’s different. One thing that I would tell them is that they really should be serious and think when they are asked about their parental preferences and the kind of environment that they want to live in. When they do finally meet the family for them, both parts [prospective parents and kids] have to work together in order for it to work out. If you can, tell your parent about things that help you and things that upset you. [This] can really help them help you and understand your actions/behaviors. Don’t expect something super perfect; parents are people just like you are, and they go through things the same as you. If you are having a hard time, let them know.

See more of Hope’s and her mom’s writing at