Vol. 8, No. 1• November 2003

Letters from Foster Care

Fostering Perspectives tries to reflect the voices of people involved in North Carolina’s child welfare system. That’s why, in addition to featuring articles by and about foster and adoptive parents and social workers, every issue features writing and artwork by children who are or have been in foster care. This material usually appears in the middle of each issue.

This time we put the kids front and center. The letters you find here were submitted in response to last issue’s writing contest, which asked the question: If you could write a letter to your birth parent, what would you say?

Selecting the contest winners was really difficult. We received many more submisions than we ever have before, and every entry was unique and personal. We were profoundly impressed by the willingness of these young writers to share their fears and dreams with us.

The letters we finally selected for publication in this issue were chosen in part because each reveals something special about the spirit of the person writing the letter. We also chose them because they reflect the different voices of youth in care: some are quite young, others nearly adults. Some have been adopted, others only recently separated from their parents. All these letters address one or more of the central issues faced by those who experience foster care and adoption. Among these are children’s struggle for identity, their anger, and their deep love for their mothers and fathers.

We hope that as you read these letters you will reflect on the perspectives of these children and youth. Think about and celebrate the things you already do to make children’s lives better. Think also about the additional things we all can do to help foster and adopted children heal, grow, and flourish.

—John McMahon, Editor

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Jimmicka, age 10

Dear Mama,

I don’t know where you are and sometimes I’m worried that you are dead. I wonder why you didn’t want to come to our good-bye visit, and why you don’t call our social worker. I feel scared that maybe something happened to you. I love you, Mama. Why did you do this? Why did you make us go into foster care? I wish you had kept us healthy by not giving us too much junk food. I wish you hadn’t let anything hurt us, like the way Anthony hurt Laitsha’s arm. When we were in the hospital for the doctors to fix Laitsha’s arm, I was feeling scared. When Anthony got arrested I was happy.

Mama, I’m sad that we got taken away from you. I want you to be happy, but I don’t think you are happy about me being adopted. I wish you could understand that I am in a good place now with Brigitte and Phil, because they do stuff with us we’ve never done before, and they discipline us, and they love us. Mama I hope that you are in a safe place, not hurt, and not worried. I hope that you are happy. I hope that you know we love you.

Love, Jimmicka

Jimmicka’s letter took first prize, for which she was awarded $100

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Lakeisha, age 13


. . . . I’m living with this African lady just until the end of the school year, then I’m going back to this lady named Jane.* She is really nice, but don’t worry, she will never be as good as you. And just to let you know, every foster parent I have lived with, I called them by their name and not mama, because I only have one mama, and that is you. I am very proud to be your daughter. . . .Maybe one day me, you, Derrick, and Tony can go to Busch Gardens as a family. DSS is always telling me I am never going to see you again, but I don’t listen to them. They’re just trying to turn me against you, but it ain’t goin’ work. Cause when I turn 18, I’m coming to live with you. I don’t care what anybody says, I’m coming to live with my Mama. See Mama, now I’m 13 years old. I only got five more years until I get to see you. That’s not that long, is it?

Lakeisha’s letter took second prize, for which she was awarded $50.
*Name changed to protect confidentiality

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Destiny, age 8

Dear Momma,

I feel very, very sad that I can’t see you anymore. I hope to see you one day. You are a very good person. I wish that I could toss a coin and I could wish for anything I want. I wish I could be rich and I wish I could have $100 and I wish I could have a butler. I’d give DSS $100 and then they could give me back to you and we could all live together again. I hope you will be able to see my brothers again. I miss you very much and I love you.

I am a very healthy girl and John and Jane* take care of me. They would never hurt me. I am meeting some new friends at school.

I hope I find a good home when I can be adopted.

When I grow up I want to be a doctor or an author.

Love, Destiny

Destiny’s letter took third prize, for which she was awarded $25.
*Names changed to protect confidentiality.

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Audrey, age 12

Dear Daddy,

I haven’t seen you for three years. When I think back on old times, I remember your false teeth and how you looked like a vampire when you would take them out. You would chase us around and act like you were going to bite us, and then you would tickle us. I felt great when you would play with us like that.

You and Mama would always call me your baby. I miss that. I don’t like thinking about when you went to prison. I hope that someday we can see each other again. I hope that you are happy. I am happy sometimes and not happy sometimes.

Love, Audrey

Audrey received $15 for having her letter published

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Desmond, age 18

If I could ask my parent anything I would ask my dad, “Why didn’t you love me?” I feel he tossed me away like an old doll. You didn’t even play with me. I felt like I came from the sky and that is why I am so sour. . . .You make kids like Ford makes cars. I try to get your attention but I still don’t have it. . . . I feel you put others before me when all I ask you for is your time. Time to spend with me. Time to go to a game. I don’t want money. I want a dad, a friend. But I guess you still are not ready to face up to your problems. You give men like me a bad name.

Desmond received $15 for having his letter published

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Alexis, age 15

From “The Letter”
I look up in the stars every night
Hoping that my future will get bright.
Then the next day when I look in your face
You’re still tryin’ to be the same person
That I’m tryin’ to erase.
I don’t want a fake role model,
I want a hero.
Please change back!
If I can’t have a father,
I don’t want a friend.
If I can’t have a dad,
I don’t want an associate.
Friends and associates fade away
Into the background
But a father and a dad
Stays for life.
To whom this may concern:
Give me back my hero.

Alexis received $15 for having her poem published

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Madyson, age 13


. . . . Because of you I hover over my food and eat it as fast as I can because I think it will be my last meal. I never feel full, either. I flinch and shield myself when people make fast movements around me. I hate being alone and cannot have my back to any closed door.

The worst is the horrible flashbacks and traumatic nightmares about my past. But I kind of want to say thank-you because it made me so much stronger.
The only thing that stopped me from dying was myself. Without me I wouldn’t have survived . . . .

You may not think what you put me through was wrong, but I do. You just need to know that I do remember and I’ll never forget. But yet after all you put me through for some reason I still love you. I also forgive you.



PS: I hope you love me too!

This is exactly what I would write and also, here’s a poem I wrote to her about the way I feel.

I Still Love You
Mom, I don’t know why
But every time I think of you
I want to cry.
Mom, I can’t understand why
I love you so.
Even though your love
Would never show.
I think I did wrong by leaving you.
But Mom, why did you leave me too?
Mom, why do I still believe you’re there,
Even though deep inside I know
You don’t really care.
Mom, I want you to care
I want you to be there
Guess my dream will never come true
I just want you to know
Mom, I still love you.

Madyson received $30 for having her letter and her poem published

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Tim, age 13

Tim received $15 for having his work published

The preceding letters appeared in the printed version of this issue of Fostering Perspectives. To read more letters from children who are or have been in foster care, click here.

Copyright 2003 Jordan Institute for Families