Comments: 1129 • Responses: 35  • Date: 

roundsypoo1511 karma

I am also a former foster kid. I never got a family of my own. I "aged out" in a group home. Now I'm 28, have my masters, a home, a husband and a wonderful daughter of my own. Congratulations on your forever family! I can relate to you and know that if you learn what NOT to do/be from the asshats that birthed you- you'll go far! I did :)

jmainceah699 karma

I am glad to hear another wonderful "happy-ending", Thankyou :)

Jdgru807 karma

As someone who wants to adopt when I am an adult, I was under the ignorant impression that kids, by the time they're that age, are typically bitter and don't make good adjustments into legal families. How was it for you to be a foster child at that age? How long were you with your foster family? How many other families were you with, if any?

jmainceah1108 karma

I know that alot of kids my age are really very set in being a bit of a "bad seed" but please believe most of us foster kids my age just need a really big hug and some guidance. Many of the kids I met in foster care are very good hearted people; but they are...difficult.

I was beaten and sexually abused for a very very long time by my step father, but was never open about it until one day I told one of my teachers what happened to my neck (there were red marks and bruises from my father choking me, that I normally were dismissed by others as hickeys.) and she told a social worker. Things spiraled from there and my biological father who left me when I was 2 was contacted.

The state brought me to him in hopes he would take care of me, but further neglect and a suicide attempt led the state to take me into custody as a ward. I was then offered a home by my best friend's parents whom I have been living with for almost a year now, they decided to adopt me officially before college started so I would have an easier time getting financial aid and such. Also they love me :)

So I was with one other, that was my dad, and then I lived in a psychiatric wing in a hospital for 3 months before being adopted by my current family.

Katrina123470 karma

Why is it easier to get financial aid if you are adopted?

jmainceah172 karma

Because I am so close to being an adult, my social worker and therapist encouraged my to try and live with my foster family and become adopted to help them pay for housing me and also college. By the time I legally officially became a ward of the state, I would be almost, if not 18. Being a ward of the state is emotionally harder and i wanted to be with my adoptive family, so financial aid via adoption benefits were better then financial aid via the foster care system.

guntex34 karma

I'm not 100% sure, but financial aid is partially based on your legal parents' income. This isn't to say that foster children can't receive financial aid, but it is probably a more difficult process to do so.

jmainceah91 karma

We definitely can. Alot of my friends and people I have met with also said I could get "free education" as a ward, but I not want to go into trying to get financial help on my own, but I also wanted my adoptive parents to be helped by the state as well, they get money and some other tax benefits until I am 21 now.

jduece344 karma

You mention your dad and step father. but what about mom? Where is/was she at during all this?

My family ended up legally adopting one of my brothers best friends who was also physically, sexually, and emotionally abused his entire life and bounced around from family to family. He didn't come into our home/family until he was about 15. For his sake, I wish we would have found him sooner (to avoid some of the awful things that he went through growing up.)

Congrats on your new family, happy holidays to you. :)

jmainceah461 karma

My mother was very mentally unstable and also had a good deal of emotional abuse from my step dad. She was always THERE, but she would just watch things go by and let things happen; something I have a very hard time letting go. The last night I had spent with her before I was taken to the hospital was the first time she ever stepped in during one of my step fathers beatings. He choked me for so long I started to go limp and I guess she pulled him off of me. But I think she only did it so I didnt die, and he wouldnt go to jail. Maybe thats the cynical part of me saying that though.

I was adopted because of one of my best friends (now my legal sister :]) as well. Your family must be very wonderful for taking him in, I know my family that did is. He is probably very very very grateful.

Thankyou :)

MISTER_HUGE161 karma

Are you male or female?

I feel like a 17 y.o.male would have a much harder time getting adopted.

jmainceah271 karma

I am female, and unfortunately yes, boys who are older have less of a chance to become adopted. I think it is because most foster boys tend to become violent.

kimmikazee124 karma

What happens when you turn 18 and aren't adopted? Do they kick you out? Is there somewhere else to go?

jmainceah174 karma

No ofcourse not. There are a whole lot of programs in place for people who can not or never get adopted. I knew two twins who were put into an independant living system when they turned 18. They basically got a paid for apartment (but supervised) and they also received alot of financial aid for schooling. There are also programs that assist in finding jobs in the work force and getting financial aid for schooling in community colleges. Some are not implemented as well as they could or should be, but most areas do a good job of not leaving kids high and dry.

dynamite_shovel151 karma

How much of a say do you get in choosing your adoptive parents? like can you veto any family you dislike?

jmainceah231 karma

As a teenager? Yes. I am uncertain of the requirements for younger children in decision making, but I think where I live once you turn 14 you get input on that process; its more of a contract between the parents and the state then the parents and the child. I have met many kids who had gotten adopted by some terrible people, and they had no power over that decision.

ma7498119 karma

What was it like seeing other people adopted?

jmainceah265 karma

Tough. I had one good friend leave only a week after meeting her. I was so happy to see her happy, but after she left I was very alone. I havent heard from her since.

settlers100 karma

First, congrats and the best of luck to you and your family.

Question 1: How long were you with your foster family before you made the decision to agree to the adoption?

Question 2: List the three things your looking forward to the most about having a family.

jmainceah386 karma

I was with them for exactly 10 months. Finding only three things is impossible, because I am grateful and hopeful for so much more. I look forward to being loved, to having support, to feeling safe, and to having opportunity for a happy future. I think what I am looking forward to the most right now is Christmas. Ive never been apart of a family christmas time.

ReddyLee67 karma

If I understand correct, your foster family will then become your legal guardians? If that's the case, would you consider them to be your parents?

My husband and I chose a childfree lifestyle, but later down the road, we may consider adoption of an older child (age 17 or older). We would be adopting with the intention of fully engaging ourselves emotionally and mentally as parents, but I wondered what it would be like for an older child. (Obviously, you're just one kid, but still would be nice to hear your opinion/thoughts.)

Before deciding to have a childfree life, we actually had begun the adoption process (just the fledgling stages) with the foster system. We both feel strongly that adopting through the foster system is the best option available for having kids. Having kids just isn't right for us personally, but I wish it was. I wish you all the best as you take these new steps. Thanks for sharing your story.

jmainceah117 karma

Yes they are my legal guardians, and in my case, they will most certainly be considered my real parents. I am absolutely thrilled to hear you and your husband are considering adopting older children; most of us lose hope after we get so old. I will never forget how fortunate I am to have been taken in.

I will say, I have met kids who have taken advantage of people. Badly. My "friend" Chris was adopted when he was 16, he stole money from his adoptive family shortly after turning 18 and ran away to California. He DID return a few months later, but it made us all very disappointed and we lost alot of our faith in him.

I do encourage you to adopt older kids, but you should definitely make sure you know the kids well.

ickyvicki51 karma

I was adopted as an 'older' kid.. Around 10. Not a teenager, but perfectly aware of what was going on. I had memories and fears.. -Baggage. Its nice to hear of a couple who wants to adopt and i encourage you. Just be prepared that not every kid will immediately embrace such a new situation with yet another family. So prepare for that and be PATIENT. Best wishes.

jmainceah47 karma

Baggage sucks. It's really hard trying to get over some of the things I went through. I feel bad because I know my adoptive family can't really help me or even understand why sometimes I get depressed or upset for seemingly "no reason", but they always see me through it, and lend the most support and love they can give. I definitely agree on the be patient part, sometimes I/we can be difficult to understand.

bumrumble67 karma

I was also physically and emotionally abused as a child and so I have sworn never to become like my parent(s). I cannot physically have children and I have thought about adopting an older child with my partner in my later life. I am extremely worried that I am not potential parenting material or that I could do more harm than good. My questions to you are:

Would any young adult/teenager be willing to try and live with an adult who was abused? What would the best way to comfort and live with an older person such as yourself? (I.E. What would you like your adoptive parents to do for you?) What is the young adult population looking for in a parent and how can I best connect with him/her/them?

I wish you the best of luck and health in your new home.

Edit: Spelling

jmainceah131 karma

YES. My adoptive mother was at one point sexually abused; and in a weird way, its something we bond over. I have a very hard time relating to other people, and I can safely say most kids like me are all more comfortable around someone else who has also suffered. It makes me, atleast, feel less alone.
My adoptive parents give me space when I need it, but always always establish they would love to talk to me, love to go out and see a movie with me and my adoptive sisters or just help me through whatever I need. So the most comforting thing I suppose is honest and upfront support. I know I can trust them and I know I can rely on them for help with anything. That being said they also get on my case about doing my best, and although sometimes I hate it, they encourage me to improve myself, and I am very grateful for that. The only way to connect with any teen I think is admit that you are only human. You can't fix them, or their past, but establishing you are THERE for them and can relate to them will help build a bond.

I am so glad you want to adopt older children, just the fact that you are already concerned about doing a good job, shows you will try your best.


princesspeach0251 karma

i am currently going to school to be a social worker. ultimately, do you feel as though your social worker was helpful?

jmainceah106 karma

Yes and absolutely no. Some social workers were very indifferent about their "clients". I had actually met with 1 that did not think I needed to be removed from my home and called me a "baby" to my step mother for not being able to live with my father. That was discouraging to say the least. But I had one particular social worker who worked with me for over a year to get me to a safe home, and I am not sure how things would be without her.

Amavin42 karma

Do you feel that you were able to hold onto some faith in humanity, or did your ordeals kind of leave you jaded and disillusioned with people in general? Do you consider yourself optimistic? And if so, what did your foster family do to restore that hopeful outlook in you?

(congrats on the legalities, btw. It must feel pretty awesome to know they love you so much that they would keep fighting for you even though you're almost an adult <3)

jmainceah123 karma

Even when I was little I had decided I would never make anyone feel unloved or unwanted, or like I had felt. I hated myself, I hated my family, but I never hated the world. I always wanted to help other people, and have always been one to give more then I get. I was not always optimistic, but I was always aspiring to help others. I knew if I didn't then I could not hope anyone would ever help me. I was not always particularly an optimist, but since I met my foster family, I think my belief in people and there capabilities has become an absolute faith.

Swagmomma38 karma

So very happy for you!! And I know that you'll live a great life!

Just a few questions: where's mom now? Do you ever talk to her? And what happened to stepdad? Jail? (Hoping....)

jmainceah95 karma

No jail for my step-dad, any charges that had been brought to the attention of my social workers and therapists were dropped. My mother and him still live together in their house, apparently happier I am gone. I dont keep contact, it's not worth it.

jmainceah33 karma

I want to share this with those who keep asking about my step-dad and commenting on all of the terrible things he is. I agree he is and always will be a terrible human being. BUT, that said, he was also heavily abused as a child. HIS father went through foster care, before when it was taken less seriously and abuse was more acceptable. My step-father was not strong enough to come out of it as a better father or even a better human being; but he lives with his past and it's burdens just as the rest of us do. And I Forgive Him.

icankilluwithmybrain31 karma

I have 6 cousins who are foster cousins (my aunt and uncle are unable to have children). They are in the process of adopting them right now :) As an outsider, what can I do to make it easier on them? What is something you think cousins/aunts/uncles can do to make the transition easier? (Their ages are 2, 5, 6, 6, 13, and 15)

jmainceah35 karma

Just accept them as you would any other one of your cousins. One of my new adoptive aunts is very hesitant with interacting with me sometimes, like shes afraid to really talk to me. and I really wish she would just treat me like a regular family member. Just including them in the family will probably make a big impact.

DarkSmarts27 karma

My father was actually adopted, at a very young age. But all he does really is complain about it because his parents were "bad" (which, all things considered, they weren't. Not great, but not bad). But I have a couple questions. How did you feel being part of the adoption system? Like, what were some problems you had/have with it? What is your foster family like? When did you first get into the adoption system? Is it like how you see in a lot of movies (depressing, interview after interview with families, etc.)?

jmainceah43 karma

Being apart of the adoption system was.... hard. It really depends on which social workers you are with and what kind of a foster care plan you are put into. Anywhere you are, social workers can be really sweet, understanding and helpful, or just complete assholes. Some of them do not give a shit about you and others would go to the end of the universe to get you into a safe place. Actual foster homes (which I was only in for about a 2 months total) differ as well. The movies are very inaccurate or atleast are a very un-modernized view of what foster care is actually like. If you have ever seen "One Who Flew the Cuckoos Nest", thats more what foster homes are like. They are very structured with care, but there is alot of interaction with other kids. I was 16 when I was put in, and was lucky enough to get out very quickly. It is always depressing, but if you find friends like I did, it can be very helpful. Definitely a safe haven compared to the homes we were taken out of or prevented from being in.

spankey02726 karma

i am a nurse, and work in a state hospital with adolescents...mostly dhs ( department of human services/ wards of the state ) kids. for starters, i am glad to see that you are on the road to a happier life and a family that can be your ' family' . sometimes blood relations arent always better.

i would say that in some of your comments you said that people are sometimes hesitant about adopting foster kids...especially older ones, and from my experience, this is true. as with most things, the news and people tell or report the worst case scenarios here...successful adoptions of older kids arent ' newsworthy' . on the flip side of that, i know of families that have tried to adopt and been burned...mostly from children that have become so jaded in the foster care system that they dont trust or open up at all, or from kids that just plain old have issues that they cant deal with. i applaude you for this ama.

and you are 100% correct..in many many cases a poor social worker..especially one in an overburdened system..can adversely affect the childs life forever.

i hope you and your new parents can develop the mutual respect and trust that is needed in these situations. the only advice i will give at this point is try as hard as you can...both you and them...to be open and honest and dont let anything( example..your friend that ran off to cali) come between you. and i only have one question....do you think it will be possible to view these new people as actual family forever?...i really dont know my real dad and this question always makes me wonder..

good luck and congratulations!

jmainceah42 karma

I very much want them to be my family forever. I would, however, be lying if I said we are going to be very close knit. I love them, but I am a very independant person, and there are alot of times when I just don't like to be at home. Not because of them, or because I am unhappy, but I just like to be out doing things on my own and something about being at the house for too long really bothers me. I plan to move pretty far away after I graduate high school, I am going to college out of state. There are too many bad memories in this town (my adoptive family only live a short drive away from my biological family) that I want to just leave behind. But they will, hopefully, be in my life forever.

natashieh26 karma

Did you always stay in the same city? I am wondering how you handled going to high school if you moved around. And even if you did stay in the same city how has your situation made high school more difficult? Have you kept up with your grades throughout this difficult ordeal?

jmainceah75 karma

No, I actually switched high schools alone four times, and my step dad and mom moved with me around 12 times. Let me say, my school record is kind of terrible. To put things in perspective I had gotten a 29 on my ACT scores, so I am not stupid. But I have mainly D's and C's on my transcript. I couldn't do homework at home, and most times I was too depressed to try in school. I would skip class because I was too embarrassed to tell the teacher I didn't have my assignments done, and I avoided interaction with people in general, so I never asked for help if I DID really need it. I switched schools when I moved in with my dad, and I did alittle better in class because I sort of had a fresh start, but I still did poorly overall. I was schooled in foster care through an "in care" high school system there. I was then moved back to my second highschool with my foster family and right now I am acheiving straight A's.

dragsmic24 karma

Is there anything you would like teachers to know in order to help us more fully understand how to help foster children in the classroom?

jmainceah35 karma

Please please please please reach out more to your students if you see them struggling. I mean that for both foster kids and all other students. You would be floored with what they have been through or are currently struggling with. I know most teachers prefer to stay completely out of students personal life's but I can not express to you how much an offering of an open door and alot compassion means.

fancypancake22 karma

I went through a very similar situation as you (abuse, being bounced around unhealthy living places, winding up in the hospital). After a year in foster care I was adopted by my aunt's family (who have since cut off all communication with my parents). Yesterday marked 5 years to the day they took me in. I'm so happy you too are finally finding a new home with a new family!

jmainceah12 karma

Yay another "happy ending"!! Thankyou :)

liberalsocialworker22 karma

Hello. I am an adoptions social worker in California and I just want you to know I advocate for teens like you on a daily basis. Majority of the children who need homes in just my county (over 400) areover age 5. But yet majority of applicants want to adopt Caucasian newborns. I try my hardest to inform them of the many kids who are older or minorities (or both) who desperately need loving homes. I don't get too many to change from wanting a baby to adopting a teen, but to see them open up desired age range- is a small success. If you or your parents are ever willing to be speakers at one of our trainings or support groups (even via skype) let me know. And even if you don't please don't stop sharing your story, for the sake of hundreds of other kiddos like you who still need a home. --Paz

jmainceah24 karma

Wow. It is great to hear that there are advocates like you who work so hard to build awareness. I would really like to volunteer and speak or even write something, but I am not sure how to go about it. PM if you would like, I would love to help and share.

EZTguy18 karma

As a child who has first-hand knowledge of the fostering and adoption system, how do you feel about parents who are dead-set on biological children and have zero interest in adoption? Would you be open for adoption in the future?

Personally, I've always said that I don't want children at all. But if I ever do change my mind, I will insist on adoption. There are too many children who need families for me to be so selfish as to demand a child of my own genetics.

jmainceah23 karma

I am indiffernet to those who don't want to ever adopt. It's hard, I will admit that fully, you have to be a special kind of person to want to take a child that is not your own and love it and give it all that you can. It just doesn't come naturally to some people. I however, can not have kids due to a few of lingering medical issues from the abuse, and I would absolutely adopt.

Aaronf98917 karma

So, considering i am 23, and a male, would it have been weird for you, and in the general population to have adopted you? Would it have been possible to adopt you as a sibling? Or would you have frowned upon that type of thing since i was so young?

jmainceah11 karma

Not weird per se. Mostly younger people who want to adopt like that know the adoptee personally. It's just not financial secure for all involved and alot of social workers and foster care workers would probably question the legitimacy of such a young parent. But as a foster child, I probably wouldn't have been too quick to judge; a caring human being is a caring human being.

hkpuipui9914 karma


What do you think about gay parents adopting kids? What do older kids or teenagers that you have met in the foster care system generally thinks of it?

I said "generally" because I acknowledge that everyone's views are different, but are the liberals correct in saying that kids waiting for adoption would rather have gay parents than no parents at all? Or are the conservatives correct in saying that kids would rather wait longer or never get adopted than be in a gay household? Or is it something so personal that it's literally different for everyone?

jmainceah16 karma

Eh.... this is hard to say. I am personally 100% rooting for same sex couples to adopt, I think if they are a caring couple, they should definitly pursue adoption. But with older kids, its hard. Becuase some kids were raised to think sam sex marriage is wrong, and some are so traumatized by certain events in their past that they are very very perverse to gay couples. I had ment one boy who was very openly anti-gay.

It really depends.

beholdthehurricane14 karma

I was just wondering if you ever felt guilt or regret for confiding in your teacher. Were you ever angry with her for reporting your case? I am happy that you have finally found a good family and that you are still around to tell your story. Best of luck :)

jmainceah16 karma

Yes. The first few days of knowing that my step dad would soon find out I narked on him, were god damn terrifying. I knew he would blame, and he did, and I paid for it. But in hindsight, it was the best thing I ever did for myself.

ladyvenom11 karma

Seeing what you have gone through, I can only expect you having your share of post traumatic problems, and I know that many adoptive parents fear children with PTSD because they don't know what to do about it or how to make it better. Is your new family helping you with these issues, or was it agreed that you take care of it on your own? I'd assume you can talk about this stuff to your best friend, but what about your adoptive parents? Are they involved in that part of your life?

jmainceah12 karma

It is very difficult for me to admit my lingering issues that I have with my memories and my experiences with my old family. It took me talking to my adoptive mother for 3 hours to admit to her I was sexually abused as well as physically abused, for some reason it's more difficult to discuss. I have a therapist, and I normally dont talk to my adoptive family about my issues. But i do sometimes, and they are a huge help. Even my best friend knows very little of what happened in that house.

creep_nu11 karma

so...what's your story? briefly obviosuly. how did you end up in the system? were you there for years on end, or did you go in and out of homes? happy to be legally adopted?

jmainceah22 karma

I made an edit for abit of background. I hope that clears some questions up. I am so happy to be adopted by people who genuinely love me.

tmotom10 karma

So, what's it going to be like when you graduate high school? Are you going to leave your temporary nest or stick around?

jmainceah22 karma

I'll leave, hopefully be a successful out of state college student. But I will definitely continue to be apart of their lives.

risottofiend10 karma

i'll be clear cut. you have been through more than anyone ever deserves to go through, and it's saddening that you have had to go this far before rejoicing in a victory.

with that said...how are you going to make this huge transition? have you had any friends that helped you get through this? are you looking to completely leave this old life behind? how open will you be about it?

what are your interests? call me crazy, but if you don't write now, I think you should start. it gives you a place to put everything out there before it starts to be too much for your head to handle. there's no reason to show it to anyone, but just write, write, write. that is if it's something that interests you.

EDIT: one more question! how did your "story" compare to the other kids waiting to be adopted? what were your relationships like with them?

thanks for doing this!

jmainceah11 karma

I ask myself that alot; the how question, that is. I just sort of... push myself to try my best, and my adoptive family has pushed me and encouraged me to make goals and go after dreams I would have never thought were reachable before. But I do struggle with that question quite frequently. I can not wait to leave my old life behind, I feel like when I go away to college it will be easier to move on. I want to work in the psychiatric ward of a hospital when I am older, and help not only foster kids but troubled adolescents in general. I hope I can slowly become more comfortable sharing my story with them, and ending that story with an ever growing happy ending.

I do like to write, but I am bad with putting my thoughts into words, even trying to form alot these responses has been difficult. I actually would like to double major with fine arts being one of my majors, I am very fond of painting and creating.

I gained alot of horizon broadening relationships in both the hospital and foster care. I met so many people I COULD write a novel on it. I found that alot of people have it rough, but to paraphrase a man I admire "you dont have it any better, you dont have it any worse, we are our own irreplaceable human being with our understanding of what it means to suffer" and its a huge bummer.

JonoW9110 karma

Does your past experience make it harder for you to become emotionally/sexually involved with someone. If so, then what do you think or your sexuality with others now?

jmainceah18 karma

Yes. I have a very hard time being intimate with people both physically and emotionally. Especially emotionally. But sexually, I am very hesitant with getting physical with people I honestly care about, something about having sex and being in love feels very very wrong to me. I think it frightens me.

chromofilmblurs10 karma

I just want to say that you must be a strong and amazing person, and I admire you for that. My mom works as a post-adoption counselor for kids who often have been neglected or abused. I am so proud of what she does (she really is interested and concerned about meeting the needs of the children first and will fight to do so). From what I have heard and read, I know that often kids who have been through hell in their homes sometimes end up being put through hell once again with foster care and/or CPS. It sounds like you definitely experienced that by being placed with your biological dad and then put back with your step dad again. My question for you is: what is one thing you wish your social workers would have listened to but didn't? What advice do you want to give to social workers who may work with cases like yours?

Thank you again for your AMA, You're been through hell and have been so kind and strong to share your story with us. I'm going to send a link of this AMA to my mom so she can read it too.

jmainceah14 karma

Alot of my social workers never talked to me. Period. They only talked to my mother and stepfather, and you can correctly assume they did not just openly say "Oh yeah! That piece of shit jmainceah, we beat the shit out of her all of the time!". It took a really long time to get through that first moving process. And when it came to moving in with my dad, no one asked if that was what I wanted. I felt like I had no control over the situation, and I felt very very unsaf being with my step dad, he was angrier then he had ever been in my life when the first social worker cam through.

I_Think_Alot7 karma

What's the most-memorable thing that kept you going, up to the point of adoption?

I had a terrible bipolar mother who kept me against my will, and my dad kept saying "Things will get better in time," until custody was transferred to him... It's not as brutal as your experience, but what my dad said kept me going.

jmainceah12 karma

I always repeated in my head the amount of years I had left until I was 18. Like a mantra.