I am going to do a little housekeeping with this blog, and answer what I consider to be an important question that David posed. Do I think I would have been better off in a foster home?
First things first, Philip, I came to your page to get your email, but I cannot get in now, like i am blocked. What did I do to make your bad list? :-P
Ok, on to the foster home thing...
Well, it is hard to say. I think in most cases, it is ideal for the children to end up with a family member, when possible. Being torn away and put with strangers can be devastating. The problem is you never know what type of person will be caring for the child in foster care. Unfortunatley a lot of crazies, make it through the screening process and they foster kids for the money, or they are the type that like to make them miserable and use them as "staff"
I know my brothers would have been better off in FC, if they were kept together, because they were younger, and could have adjusted better, but I could not have stood being apart from them. Who knows, my grandparents did not drink and they took good care of us, but my grandpa had two sides, he could be mean sometimes, but it was not too bad for the boys.
I was severely abused there, and that is for another blog is coming soon. The abuse was so bad that it did more long term damage to me than everything that happened with my parents. I do know that had we been taken from my family when we were young, foster care may have been the right option, we would have had time to bounce back from it and not be so tainted by what we saw. But by the time my mom killed my dad, the damage was done to my brothers and I. And it was just up to us, when we got older, to make our lives different or keep them better.
David, I know it seems as if I have not given a direct answer, but that is because I don't really know how. I know my dad was a bad man, and hurt us and I would loved to have been away from him but I could not have imagined not being with my mother, she was my world, up until she changed after the shooting. I think the only reason I survived being separated from her when I went to live with my granny is because of two things. 1. I was close to my grandma and loved her very much and my aunt, her daughter, was like a second mom to me and kept me with her a lot too. and 2. My mom had changed so much that I had started to be bitter and angry towards her, so that helped to mask the pain and saddness.
If we could ensure the screening process for foster homes, and regular FOLLOW ups with the foster family when the child is placed then I can see it being better, but I think we need to make sure these folks are not doing as much harm as the people they were removed from. And making sure the siblings stay together is of the UTMOST importance. At least in the "bad" home, the child knows what to expect.
So, after going through ALL of that, I think that honestly yes, we would have been better off in a foster home, especially in light of what happened to me when I moved to my grandparents home. Being with strangers would have been hard, but we would have gotten use to it. As long as I had my little brothers with me, I think we would have been ok we could have taken care of each other, and I think we would have turned out better. I look great from the outside, but on the inside I am a mess, that bastard (grandpa) really fucked me up.
We moved a lot too, I never really felt rooted, and that is the case in a lot of these situations, which also makes the transition into foster care easier than for a child who had a stable, steady life. I went to 4 different elementary schools IN THE SAME TOWN. Then when I went to live with my grandparents, due to everything I was going through, I started getting in trouble at 12/13 y.o. so I was juggled back and forth from my grandma to both of my aunts, to give folks a break so to speak. I moved out at 15 years old. Then it all changed, I went back to straight As and never skipped another day of school. Probably because working 50 -60 hours a week and going to school kept me wore out. After that, I still moved every 6 months, apartment lease would be up, and I would move to a new "ghetto" apartment complex because they always run specials for new tenants so that is how I kept my rent to something I could afford. I mean I was working a lot, but back then I was not making but $4. something per hour... The longest I have ever lived anywhere was 4 years and I am 37 years old... most places were no more than a year, and often less.
I am not sure what I would have done with a strong, steady place to call home.