The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Saying No to Adoption

For as long as I can remember, my social workers have been pressuring me into being adopted. They all say the same thing: it would best if I were to get adopted because I would have a nice loving family who cares about me. “Thousands of kids get adopted every day and they’re happy,” they say. “So why don’t you want to be adopted?”

At 14 I got the chance to live with my first foster family. I’d been in the system for years, but I’d always lived with relatives. My social worker at the time kept telling me that this would be a nice family to adopt me because they’d adopted my younger sister at birth. But I didn’t know this family, and they didn’t know me. How could a social worker I barely knew determine that this was the best family for me?

But honestly, the biggest reason why I still don’t want to be adopted to this day is that I don’t feel like I can really trust anyone. In my experience, people have walked out of my life whenever I’ve started to count on them. For that reason I don’t allow myself to really get close to anyone. Even though I’ve grown to know and love my current foster family, I still don’t want to be adopted by them. I’m so used to being let down that I’m not willing to risk it.

Besides, it’s natural to want to be with my own family. When I think about becoming part of a different family I feel deprived from my own life, as though I’d be losing a part of who I am. My family is a part of me. If they were taken away from me I’d feel as if I didn’t have a say in my own life, like social workers were deciding who I am.

I’m getting older, and I don’t want to live my life through other people’s families. My sisters who have been adopted since birth carry their adopted names, and they don’t really know anything about “our” family. I don’t want to change my last name because then I might forget where I came from. Your last name has a history behind it, and that’s something very sacred to me.

I’d rather help strengthen my own family relationships than concentrate on the connections I already have with my foster family. Many of my relatives lost themselves to drug addictions in the past, but they are now receiving help. Watching my foster family work through their problems together makes me realize that my own family doesn’t support each other in that way. It reminds me that bringing my own family closer is something I’ve always wanted to do.

So instead of adoption, I’ve decided to stay in the system until I age out at 21. That way, ACS (child welfare) can help me pay my way through college and then, hopefully, I can accomplish my goals. Even though I’m choosing not to be adopted by my foster family, I really care about them. There’s an important place for them in my life, but I want to focus now on my own family.

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