Former Foster Kids Share What It’s Like Growing Up In A ‘Group Home’

Neglect is an awful thing, especially when it comes to children. Parents have a larger role than make sure a child has food and shelter. They play a critical role in a child’s brain and behavioral development.

In this article, people that have lived and grown up in orphanages/ home cares share the reality of their lives.

1. Telling stories to pass the time

I’ve lived in group homes through the foster care system. It’s a lot like an orphanage.

It was definitely different. I’m sure you could guess that children who needed to be taken away from their parents aren’t the most well-developed or mentally sound kids. Most were functional day-to-day (there are other homes for those who aren’t), but some wild things would happen. One boy would just masturbate in his bed with no warning or attempts at concealing it. My brother or I would have to go tell the adults.

Lots of time spent with each other as the only form of entertainment. We’d play lots of sports, lots of freeze tag, TV tag, etc. Many kids had anger problems, so the games would usually end in an argument or in rare cases a fight.

We would tell stories to pass the time. Kids would talk about their old schools, or their parents, or anything really. You’d sit and listen, and then chime in with one of your own. We all became really great storytellers, for good or for bad.

The adults were okay. They liked me and my siblings because we were relatively well-adjusted and well-behaved, but you could tell they were annoyed with some of the other kids. When they got really mad they’d have us clean the house as punishment, but no beating or abuse. The food was okay, we were always fed, bathed, and safe.

Overall, it had it’s downsides but it was a fine place to spend a few years compared to some of the other stories that I’ve heard.

2. No adults on their side

Schedules. Everything was scheduled. Food was scheduled. You wanted Saturday morning cartoons? They ran between 7:30-12:00. You were forced to eat breakfast between 8-10. Forced. You were not allowed to opt out. Best inhale chocolate cereal in the commercial. One bowl only.

Same with Saturday cleaning. “If you do the clean-up, you get allowance.” And once one kid realized she was rubbish at clean-up (no one taught her, they only complained that she hadn’t done it right), she asked to forfeit her allowance. No, still forced to clean. When she refused, she was grounded. This was nowhere in the original clause.

School? Hah, forget it. Cheapest possible, with maybe the occasional library trip. Advanced placement? With no adults on your side, you’ll be stuck doing things you already know. Forever.

No adults on your side. Ever. The collective is worth more than the individual. Nobody loves you. They love everyone! Not just you. Which means nobody cares about you as an individual. You are not special to anyone.

Sauce: Spent some time in a state-run home for children taken from their parents.

3. Extremely thankful for being put in Children’s home

I grew up in a children’s home from age 6 to 18 with my twin sister and my younger brother because my dad was very sick and my mom was an alcoholic and a drug addict. I didn’t have an abusive childhood, my dad just couldn’t take care of me. There were always kids moving in and out and very few stayed as long as I did, so it was sometimes hard to build meaningful relationships. My houseparents stayed the whole time I was there which is good because having parental figures change constantly can be traumatic. My houseparent’s taught me everything I know about how to succeed in life and I still consider them my parents. Everything was surprisingly normal as far as I can tell from how my other friends described their childhoods. I was in band in high school and had a job and a car to drive. I was free to do pretty much whatever I wanted with my time as long as I finished all of my homework and kept my grades up.

After I graduated high school, the children’s home paid for all of my college expenses including tuition, living expenses, and helped me buy my first car so that I would graduate debt free and start trying to build something for myself. Being put into that children’s home is probably the greatest blessing I will ever receive and I’m thankful every day for it.

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