My short bio: I have never done this before, but a friend told me it might be fun. I am a kid who got put into CPS(crazy shit happened) at around 13 for suicidal crap. I was dropped at 18 when paperwork wasn't filed in one of my houses, and then put back in when I had to attend college and put up a little fight later that same year for the college benefits. I've seen a number of things and heard a couple of cool stories. Ask me anything if I seem interesting.

Edit 1 Proof provided. If this doesn't work, please ask for something else I can offer. I'll give more if necessary

Edit 2: My replies are about to be a little less consistent. Packing up for Turkey Day and heading out. I'll still try to respond to all questions, of course.

Comments: 174 • Responses: 80  • Date: 

ContentedReader23 karma

Do you think CPS fulfilled its legal and moral responsibilities to you?

Were you eligible for adoption?

Do you stay in touch with your biological family, or with your foster family?

stunnedmulletreddit33 karma

I went through two workers and am on my third in the aftercare. I will say that the first lady was just terrible. She didn't care about where I was being located or how I felt.

I tried to be, but they kept telling me if you get in at 13, nobody will sign up to adopt you randomly. People adopt the younger kids. I would have had to have already known a family who wanted me.

I reconnected pretty well with my father at 18. My sister talks to me a lot. We don't get along well, but we try. I lost contact with everybody else.

stridersriddle20 karma

I want to adopt teenagers for that reason. I've work in the mental health systems and seen some good kids that would do anywhere from OK to Excellent as long as they had the unconditional support. My husband and I are taking classes come the new year to be foster/adoptive parents with this plan. Hopefully it'll work out.

stunnedmulletreddit11 karma

Good luck, friend. You have my support and I hope you really help out with it.

InvalidUsernameAgain17 karma

I tried to be, but they kept telling me if you get in at 13, nobody will sign up to adopt you randomly.

It's so sad but it's so true. I was adopted when I was a baby. Sometimes I feel bad because there are kids who needed a home just as badly as me, but I was a "new shiny object" that's more desired than an older kid. Just like a puppy or kitten at the pound.

stunnedmulletreddit25 karma

I like how I turned out. But I saw kids who really needed that family. My favorite foster brother was this boy named Marcus. He was really functional. You couldn't tell he'd been beaten unless you pried. He essentially wasn't adopted because he was beaten for longer than the younger kids. I met him when he was 14 or 15. The dude is a cult of personality and the source of some of my favorite stories. Everyone loves him and I see him not succeeding since he dropped out of high school. If he had a parent I wonder a lot if he'd have been fixed up enough. Our foster dad tried. He kept him after he was shut down and raised him for free, but Marcus wasn't forced to stay and ran off when he didn't agree with the rules anymore.

InvalidUsernameAgain9 karma

That is so ridiculously sad.

stunnedmulletreddit23 karma

Anyone who ages out of care at 18 i supposed to get full college paid anywhere in Texas. They work pretty hard to make sure that you still get that future. I have had some great times in the system, and I've got a lot of fun stories too. I don't want you to think none of us get a good time or anything. I like to think I was very successful in the scenario. But a lot of the stuff is sad too.

dunimal6 karma

Im glad that they offer college, but without a support system invested in your past, present, and future, a paid public education isn't much of a guarantee. I wish it was enough to give a foster kid a leg up, but it just isn't.

stunnedmulletreddit6 karma

In another post I mention that, too. Almost none of the foster kids I know even made it to college. It's sad. They can also help you get into things like workforces and job-cores and stuff though. It seems like a lot of people don't do that either. I think learning a craft like that would be a more reliable possibility.

amazonallie15 karma

if it makes you feel any better... just so you know, after I have been out on the road for a few years I want to adopt an older child... like over 10 years old....

There are people like me out there.. :)

stunnedmulletreddit8 karma

That's a really great thing. I've considered the same, but I'm not for sure yet. I haven't finished mulling over how the whole "children" thing will work. 1: be ready for anything 2: Thank you very much.

amazonallie9 karma

I'm 40, divorced, and don't have children of my own. My friends have always said that I would make an awesome stepmother, but they can't see me with dirty diapers and such..

I am inclined to agree... plus, when I was teaching.. it was always the kids 10 and older that I seemed to be able to connect with.

stunnedmulletreddit6 karma

I like to think that when we're older we can make friends easier. If it's what you really want, I say go for it. Parents in the neighborhood tend to really think it's courageous and heartfelt when they hear about it too. We always had neighbors in my last foster home who spoke very well of our foster dad only for that one reason.

dunimal2 karma

Ugh this is just so shitty that you are in TX. Here in CA, there is a real push for adoptions of older kids. We adopted our son from CPS system at age 2-which seems young but at thay point its already an older /hard to place age, and he had been through 6 placements. I would love to adopt older kids when he is older, so he is safe(I wouldnt be willing to take kids I dont know around my little guy.)

I hope you are able to triumph over your past, OP. Don't let it hold you down.

stunnedmulletreddit4 karma

Thanks for the kind words, yo. I've been doing really well for a few years now.

I'm glad there's that push in Cali. I've never heard of any kind of push for the older kids in Texas, but I'm sure there are families who want them. There are foster parents who want to foster at older ages, so I'm sure it's not a stretch that people would do the same work for no pay. Six houses is pretty intense. I'm a big mover now too. I hope you guys stay happy and he keeps you guys forever.

baobei19482 karma

What happened to your mom? And how did you end up in CPS?

stunnedmulletreddit1 karma

I got into CPS for suicidal purposes.

My mother divorced my dad when I was still way young. I've heard that she never wanted to marry but in Texas in the 80s a rape-baby was still a baby. She has three other kids and when I spoke to her on the phone a few years ago she was in California. Three other kids to worry about, so I wish her the best.

parasitic_spin3 karma

So was your dad the rapist?

stunnedmulletreddit1 karma

Sort of. He might not be my dad. I was told that the man who raped my mother(thus creating my sister) didn't have me. His brother Marvin did and they just didn't tell anybody. Marvin is not a rapist.

s_mw10 karma

What is it like being in CPS? I mean what is it like inside the system as a 13 and 14 year old while going to school and living your life?

I have no idea how any of it works.

stunnedmulletreddit14 karma

When I got in at 13 I was still with my family and they just visited a lot. As a junior high kid I am not too proud to say I was a total toolbag. The emo kid suicidal kind of thing. Totally the archetype troubled teen.

When I went fully in around 14-15 to the system I was put in a shelter for suicidal crap. I went from a hospital for a month to the shelter for three-ish months, to this thing in Belton Texas called Cedar Crest. They watch you like a hawk for a long time (Ten months for me) and then tell you you are finally fit to be a person again. But the system wasn't super helpful since a lot of kids don't want to be helped. I admittedly back then pulled the old fashioned "fake-it-till-you-make-it" routine. People were in there for tons of crazy stuff and some kids really just needed a hug. It's really annoying that we're all put in the same box when we start.

s_mw3 karma

Dang were there any real scarey kids you just needed to stay away from?

stunnedmulletreddit23 karma

Sort of. There was this guy. I get chills to this day. He was really thuggish, but he was also a really great and nice guy. He heard voices from drug abuse(I think that was why) at a young age. So he'd go in the "quiet room" (a less rubber rubber room when the kids need to chill out and be isolated) and just scream at the top of his lungs. He would always request to be put there. But he would yell things like "I don't wanna hear these voices any more" and "Leave me alone!". Other than him, any other kids always just thought they were tougher than they were. But he was one I really felt bad for. He couldn't control when he'd get violent so he'd just go to that quiet room for an hour or so every single day. Like clockwork. He said the voices weren't so hostile when he was high. Then they'd just ask "what's going on?" or "who's he?" But he always said they said terrible things usually.

Great guy though. Seriously, a solid dude who was just kind of out of rhythm with society for things he couldn't control.

s_mw2 karma

Thanks for the responses.

stunnedmulletreddit5 karma

My pleasure

pancreatic_canso5 karma

Since it is AMA, why did you get put into CPS? What's the crazy shit?

stunnedmulletreddit11 karma

True story, I was told "Cutting is controlled" by a woman on the internet. She told me that nobody who cuts is suicidal and that I was a faker. I'd been cutting for as long as I could jack off(though the two were not connected) and nobody tried to fix it. When she told me that it was all fake, I swallowed seventeen thumbtacks. CPS swooped in the next day when I had a panic attack and started calling everyone for help and vomitting everywhere.

iStronglyDislikeYou10 karma

If you don't want to talk about it, that's fine, but don't your parents have to do something really bad for them to take you away? Because unless I'm not reading too well today, it seems like they took you away because of what you did, which I'm having a hard time understanding...especially since you hear of so many kids trying so hard to become emancipated and not being able to do it.

stunnedmulletreddit13 karma

It wasn't in relation to my family. I lived with my grandmother and my sister and we all never spoke to one another. We didn't get along, and so the justification was that my grandmother wasn't taking care of me. Which she was, and she wasn't, but she never hurt me. She was unfit to raise us anyway, but the worst she would do was forget to buy groceries or yell at us every now and then. She wasn't as bad as I used to think she was.

When a kid is as intense as to start swallowing shit, they try and intercept them. I was lucky to get out of the house and town. All I needed was to start over, I think.

And no fear about the "If you don't want to talk about it" thing. I'm actually much better than if I had stayed in that town. It was a small town called Quitman Texas. They were really intolerant I was lucky to get out. I'm living really well now and I reflect with my friends all the time, so Reddit shouldn't be an unsafe place for me.

iStronglyDislikeYou2 karma

Obviously they wanted you to "Quit, man."

Seriously tho, kudos to you for being able to talk about this and get over it. Keep up the hard work.

stunnedmulletreddit9 karma

Haha. It has been really fun lately. The hard work is long over. I try not to talk too much about Quitman because I have really bad blood with the entire population.

As for the hard work, I love everything right now. My college friends are plentiful and I'm a theatre major in a small college. I'm really well respected by the directors, and I have a huge network of people I can talk to when things suck. Also, I have this running joke of four years. I don't have parents, and it makes for the most morbid humor. Everybody hates it at first, and then everybody starts telling the jokes. No-parents jokes are the best thing about Whitest Kids U Know, and Batman. I get the best ammunition.

Anus_Blender2 karma

I try not to talk too much about Quitman because I have really bad blood with the entire population.


stunnedmulletreddit9 karma

I was partway hoping you'd ask. The high school had a really harsh staff. It's not a stretch for the students to bully kids who're different in some really intolerant areas, but I got bullied frequently by the teachers as well. The teachers gave me a really hard time and so I started to really not fit in. A lot of people threatened me intensely all the time for being atheist. None of the above though is really so shocking and I kind of think it happens in places. The thing that pissed me off was when I first went to the hospital all those judgemental kids and teachers put together a card and I heard from the nurse(one of the only people in the school I could feel comfortable around) tell me truthfully that everyone was in tears when they found out the school had driven me as far as to be hospitalized for suicide.

I came back and nothing changed. Still judged, bullied, and at the minimal, alienated and ignored. It was really shocking to see all these people say they cared, but when I came back for a short period of time, I saw that nobody really cared enough to change. I was still the weird emo kid with a couple of weird emo friends. Still bullied and shittalked.

I ended up being pulled away with the suicidal CPS stuff, and to my very last step taken I was treated the same. I hated people pretending to care when I left, because it happened all the time. They'd bring me to church and cry for me, but they couldn't be my friends. Not even the teachers, who normally just gave me hell.

I mean, I wasn't a super likable kid, don't get me wrong. But I wanted to be given more of a chance. In hindsight I was also bad at communicating. It's still always going to have a bitter note from me though. It's an awful town.

addcream2 karma

Unfortunately the hard work is never over. For ANYONE. Don't get lulled. Just sayin.

Wakeseeker1 karma

I suppose that point for him is to get lulled, he can continue his hard work calmly. Im glad that everything is going good for you!

stunnedmulletreddit7 karma

I tend to think the hard work is over comparatively.

I'm in college. The hard work I do now is to live well. The hard work you do in cps is to live functionally sometimes. It's much harder because the reward is like it's written in another language.

AlanaK1682 karma

Why were you and your sister living with your grandmother? Where were your parents?

stunnedmulletreddit5 karma

I've never seen my mother. Not even in a photo. The man on my birth certificate as my father had been around on and off. I learned a while back that there's a pretty good shot that he's not my father. He had to relinquish his rights to his children when we were young. I was two, and she was three...I think. Way young. My grandfather passed when I was eight and that's when my family became really dysfunctional. He ran off to Tennessee and made a new life for himself. I haven't spoken to him since I was 13. I've talked to my mother three or four times on the phone. She means well, but she has more kids, and we probably won't ever meet up in person.

AlanaK1684 karma

That sounds really sad.

Sorry but you said in a different comment you reconnect with your father at 18?

stunnedmulletreddit1 karma

Yeah. My real father is his brother. I was named after him. Ronald. His brother is named Marvin. It gets sloppy and stops sounding like a true story deeper in, but Marvin felt really bad for Ronald's wife. Ronald beat her and Marvin still kind of likes her, but he's a confused dude.

Either way, they did the do one day, and here I am. I go by Aaron/Arron (I use either because of a birth certificate issue. It's technically Arron). It's my middle name. The father I connected with was Marvin.

AlanaK1682 karma

Sorry which one is your biological father?

stunnedmulletreddit1 karma

The Marvin one. The one who didn't marry my mother but also didn't beat her. We believe firmly that he is my biological father.

effieokay1 karma

Not to butt in but they probably removed him from the home when they saw that the grandmother couldn't or wouldn't prevent him from harming himself.

stunnedmulletreddit1 karma

You see it in a lot of kids. If we don't want our parents to catch us, we don't let them. Everybody goes to high school with cutters. How many of them tell their folks that they're cutting regularly?

And my grandmother was a frail little thing. She didn't need to be raising my sister and I. When we left she finally married her boyfriend and got to rest and settle down. She earned it.

baobei19482 karma

If you ended up in CPS, what happened to your sis?

stunnedmulletreddit1 karma

She lived with my grandmother for a couple of months without me until my grandmother went to live with her boyfriend(who quickly became her husband). My sister took to a job and went off to college by the end of the year, I believe. She did her own independent thing though. We lost a lot of contact when I left though. She tries to connect every now and then, but I wasn't close before I left, so I tend to keep my distance.

Idontlikethinking5 karma

What advice would you give to someone who wants to foster/adopt older children?

stunnedmulletreddit16 karma

Moderation. A lot of people think they'll do the world a favor by getting four or five children. If you get more than two, you'll become jaded and broken. CPS throws constant rules at you so you can't parent the way you want. The kids were raised by rules, and they'll often try to use the rules against you. They don't mean to, but they do it in the heat of the moment, and you can get shut down and lose your own children. You would probably only want one, so you can actually help him out. My foster father went through 13 kids, I believe. I'm the only one who got to college. A woman who did foster work that we hung around weekly had five girls at all time. Of the seven girls I knew at that house, four are pregnant/have been pregnant and at least one has an STD. They weren't helped at all. They were broken and taught poorly by the system.

herlldalgo5 karma parents adopted five special needs kids. They are great parents but the house is chaotic, their health sucks, and their marriage is secretly in shambles. They aren't able to parent as well as they parented me. I feel guilty for the great upbringing I siblings will never know Mom and Dad as anything other than sickly, snappish, and tired.

stunnedmulletreddit6 karma

I saw it with my foster dad on a much smaller scale. He didn't keep his job for even three years, but he was so angry and exhausted in just the first six months. The poor guy sat us down one day and told us not to expect more brothers because he was worn and tired and "just didn't want to do it any more". Rodney was in his fifties when I knew him. That was the only time he ever seemed old to me. Thanks for the input. I appreciate a second source of input. :)

icantmakethisup4 karma

I've always wanted to take in foster kids. I suppose it depends on the state, but I would have a choice as to how many kids I want to take in? As in it would be possible to only take in one or two at a time?

stunnedmulletreddit5 karma

Also, I personally think that two is the ideal number. If school sucks, there's at least one other person who understands. This can also really backfire and start in-home bullying. I've seen both ways.

stunnedmulletreddit3 karma

Absolutely. You have to put in a request for any additional kid you want. I don't think you get any say in the kid though. It's a complete gamble. I had one woman who only did three, and my foster father constantly went through training to get more and more. We bring in a ton of money, so some people just get like ten and get a farm. The kids end up doing labor on it, they only need a dollar a week allowance, and they fun you thousands. It's very capable of being a disgusting trade. Admittedly I only heard of this happening once, and have no proof. I doubt it myself at time. But yeah, you can totes control quantity. You're not like contractually obligated to raise a certain number of kids for a certain amount of time or anything.

KRaidium2 karma

I really hope that's not true. It's horrible to think that some people would be expected to be helping troubled kids and are instead using then as slaves.

stunnedmulletreddit1 karma

It's legally not slavery. They get to shower, sleep well and have three meals. But that's because every home demands that. I'm sure it was a scare-tactic but it's still possible to do it. If I met somebody that terrible as a parent I don't know how I'd react. But yeah, I hope it's untrue as well.

enokeenu2 karma

"They don't mean to, but they do it in the heat of the moment, and you can get shut down and lose your own children. "

How can you end up losing your own children? I have always wanted to help out in the foster system, but not at the risk of disrupting my own family.

stunnedmulletreddit1 karma

I've heard you can lose your own kids to CPS if you fail the test way badly. There are a lot of requirements and such. I've never filled out the applications of course, but the work you go through is really crazy. It's just one of the things that happens if you are deemed an unfit parent.

Edit: typo

Lost_in_GreenHills7 karma

My family adopted my brother when he was 12. It's been a really good adoption and I think it worked out well. I think it worked well because our parents had firm boundaries but a flexible parenting style--they were willing to try anything that might help.

OP says to not try to do the world a favor and take in lots of kids. Also remember that the kids don't think that you're doing them a favor by taking them in. Gratitude, if it comes, comes years after love is established.

Edit: grammar

stunnedmulletreddit4 karma

That's a fair statement. But I've never seen a successful home from the grouping thing. The kids get damaged because it becomes more clearly about the money (and boy are we worth money. Loads if you don't actually adopt) and that hurts our self-esteem. Also, like a college, the way we love professors who can offer one-on-one time with students, the parents need that ability on a much grander scale. Plus, if you get shut down for any reason you can lose your real kids. Seen it done. If you're a total badass parent (and I have seen them) you can give it a try. Just know it's dangerous and the love of the kid could end up being the last thing you care about. It's true though, that some of us do become really grateful. I know a good number of us have the "We wish we respected the parent before we shut them down" mentality.

Lost_in_GreenHills2 karma

I agree completely that it's a bad idea to take on too many kids. I'm sorry if that was unclear. Thanks for doing this AMA, by the way.

stunnedmulletreddit2 karma

Thanks for being a part of it. It's been fun.

Learned_Hand_015 karma

My wife is a therapist for foster children in Texas (central Texas though, you would not know her). Is there anything you would want her to know? Perhaps something that would help her to know but that foster kids are less likely to talk about in therapy.

stunnedmulletreddit6 karma

I had to think about this one for a second. I'm sure she's already figured this out but a lot of the conversation is kind of like selling a car. You're going to get a ton of cooperation if you show them that you're fun and friendly and not judgmental.(Obviously she won't be judgmental though.) A lot of the kids are ready to shut you out if you give one bad impression. I've had foster brothers love a therapist one day and hate them the next just because she didn't feed his ego. I don't have a ton of general info since we're all way different. A good sense of humor is nice, I suppose. And we love to feel like we're right. Even when we're not I tend to agree with my brothers, if I want them to work with me, I tell them "I understand how you feel that way, and that's a reasonable way to think, but consider the following_______". I wouldn't actually say "consider the following", but I try and be a little sly with my devil's advocate play.

Learned_Hand_015 karma

Thank you. I showed her the thread and she read the whole thing.

stunnedmulletreddit7 karma

My pleasure. I hope I helped in some way. Good luck to both of you!

Lurk3r_4 karma


stunnedmulletreddit16 karma

That's deep. I'd say they need to have that parental figure that they're not afraid of. I've had a couple of foster brothers who had the shit beat out of them as kids, and it doesn't go away. One would hear adults yelling, and he'd have "flashbacks" and be a different person for the rest of the day. It was because his dad beat him. A lot of the other kids will get really violent just because authority is around, because the most attention they got growing up was when they did something bad or got in trouble. Like... when you parent, if you're too hostile, your kid will be really damaged. And I only had a few foster parents, but they ones I had were admittedly doing it for money. As a teen growing up, I couldn't stand hearing I was around as a paycheck. And I was one of the older kids. I had an eleven year old brother in one house, and I don't like to think about how it must be that young to be seen as money by the person who's raising you.

stunnedmulletreddit11 karma

This might have been a bad answer. The kid needs a parent who makes them know they're valued and doesn't mistreat them.

stunnedmulletreddit3 karma

Ya know, I'm not sure how the younger kids feel about social workers. As a teen, it's always just conversation. Below I give a bit of advice on similar topics but I'll sum it all up again here.

You want to be sincerely interested, and very likable foremost because we are ready to say you're just another adult who doesn't understand. The best workers in anything cps(though I know you just said you don't think you're going to work for cps I still think this is relevant) related that I had all talked with me just as much about my interests and such as they did about things directly relevant to my case and how I was feeling in my home and such. One of my case-workers often took her kids out for a bit while we talked. It felt friendlier like she was going way out of her way to hang out and not just to grill us on the latest scoop. It tends to be per person. That said, I've never had a kid in any of the foster homes I was in that hated cps workers, or social workers or anything. I don't think you guys even really have a really big image(no offense). My brothers were just like "My worker is coming by". I've never heard of you having a bad rep. It was mellow. We think some workers suck as people, but we think the same about everybody in every job. No blanket term for all of you like we would have with politicians and such. Also, since you're still in school. Some of us are just violent. I met a couple of kids who would just strike out. It's pretty uncommon though, I think. I only ever knew one kid with a full-fledged complex that said he needed to always threaten authority figures.

So yeah. Show interest and we do the same. Be likable and we get along. Also good luck in your schooling. I hope this answer helped. I don't know if I answered one bit of this clearly.

mrskatybug3 karma

Arkansas CPS worker of 11+ years here... No questions, just wanted to say thank you for sharing - it's reassuring to hear from someone old enough to verbalize and have some insight into their history and experience. Also, you remind me of one of my very favorite kiddos - she too is parentless, but at 24, has been my kid for 10 years now :)

And to clarify on the $ thing - college depends in each state - in AR it's very capped, only til 21, and ridiculously frustrating to take advantage of - I've only seen a few kids even try, and only 1 of them stayed til 21. Most of the time by age 18, kids just want to be as far from the system as they can get, and as soon as they turn 18, they choose to leave care and any chance at after care benefits. Understandable, but sad and frustrating to see. :(

Oh, and monthly board for foster home placement in AR is ridiculously low too - ranges from $410 a month for ages 0-5 up to $500 for ages 15-17. That goes just about nowhere between diapers for young ones and clothing/school stuff for older ones.

stunnedmulletreddit2 karma

Wow. Arkansas is really suckish. I'm happy to be in Texas for CPS. 23 is much more child-friendly.

Thanks a ton for the info on Arknsas. I never had any idea about any of that. I've heard that keeping kids in Texas pays loads more. Parents aren't actually allowed to disclose that stuff though, so I never got exact numbers. Still, this is fun to know.

erowidtrance3 karma

How common is child abuse with CPS?

stunnedmulletreddit3 karma

Do you mean the CPS parents, or the real parents that we're taken from?

erowidtrance3 karma

Yeah either. What did you hear about or experience personally and how prevalent would you say it is?

stunnedmulletreddit2 karma

CPS parents are pretty bad but I never hear about them sucking when they start. They just keep getting kids who want to break rules or have to be handled a different way until eventually they make these really strict rules and stop seeing when they've become awful. My first foster house was with a woman named Debra(albeit I dont recall the exact spelling). She had three of us, and wanted one or two more. We were not allowed to leave our room whatsoever. She made us do a ton of chores and then back to the room until dinner time. I realized she had us on a microphone too, because she complained constantly about how I was rolling over in bed. She put me on a ton of tranquilizers. She was an awful woman but I think she just kept tightening her rules up for kids. Either way I hated her. And it's not mega-uncommon for parents to get that strict from what I've heard.

Biological parents tend to just not know when to whip their kids. I've mentioned Marcus several times in these posts. I lived with him the longest. His father just beat him all the time for every little thing. Never beat his sister though. It was about little things. He didn't clean this, or he did this wrong. Another boy from the Debra household said that the parents just beat him for fun as a kid. He had a bit of a lying problem, though, so I didn't know how real his stories were. I knew that he'd been beaten badly though because his case worker and he talked about it around us frequently. I think neglect is harder to catch. I haven't seen any kids with neglectful homes. I've seen a couple of girls who were molested. Never a single boy, to my knowledge. And some kids are just rule breakers and the parents are stripped of the kids. It's got a lot to do with how you're raised.

My foster brother David was like 12 years old when I met him and a really little kid. When I asked him why he got into foster care he said it was because he kept throwing ladders at his parents. I got a laugh out of that, until I had to help break up a fight with him and another kid. He was a lot smaller than the rest of us, so he didn't see the problem in finding a thick cord and beating you with it. I caught a bad welt to get it off of him.

Kaywin2 karma

How is David now, out of curiosity?

stunnedmulletreddit2 karma

A thoroughly amazing person, actually. I think he's one of the few of us who fits in just fine. He was a good few years younger than me, but I could tell he was the smartest of all of us.

I think the biggest issue he's had lately to my knowledge is the basic high-school girl troubles, but I could be misinterpreting his facebook posts. We don't talk an awful lot, but I tend to assume he's doing great. I think he finally got adopted, but I've heard that that's not the case for sure. I should go check on him on fb some time.

UtterlyInsane2 karma

If somebody new asks you about your past, what do you tell them?

stunnedmulletreddit6 karma

I try and start slow, dropping a ton of "I don't have parents" jokes. I like to desensitize people and get them get to know about that in a positive-ish light before I start really dropping my past on them. I normal tell them the basics "I'm a foster kid. I don't have parents. I have free college." to lay down a solid foundation and then tell them to ask away. I think it's a fun topic to talk about.

UtterlyInsane5 karma

Dude your demenor is amazing. You seem really at ease with the whole situation. Another quick question:

Who was your favorite foster parent(s)?

stunnedmulletreddit8 karma

I lived with an Australian name Rodney. He was so cool. He absolutely hated any music that wasn't classical, and pinched every penny. We would go out to eat and have a 3-dollar spending limit per person.

It became a gimmick to him, and he had such a great emotional awareness of himself. He treated us very fairly, listened, and went in way over his head for us. I loved the guy. Great attitude normally, and a real sense of humor. He had a much more balanced parenting set and let us go out and be human beings. He gave us real chores and the stingiest allowance you've ever heard of.

Also he had an accent as he was from Sydney. I still go to lunch with him now and then, and he saw my last two or three shows at Grayson.

Garenator2 karma

If you could make any changes you wanted to the way CPS works/operates, what would you change?

stunnedmulletreddit3 karma

I would probably change the way they take the kids away. Not totally, but there's a story I wrote below about a young girl getting murdered. Things like that need to be looked out for more closely.

I would also probably get something done about the religious alienation. It's way common for kids to be actively against Christianity in the foster system. I was an atheist, but I was very "live and let live" about it. My first real case worker would never help me with any of my actual problems. She just kept telling everybody I had any connection to about how I needed to form a relationship with Jesus Christ. I don't dislike Christians or Christianity, but it's not for me. I didn't like how actively she was against me and the decisions I made based on my lack of religion. And she's not the only one I've seen that way.

Garenator2 karma

That's fucked up. I'm an atheist myself, and believe that people should be allowed to believe what they chose, but that should be illegal. Trying to force your religion on a child in a position like that. Were workers that like common? Do you know if any of them were fired/disciplined for proselytizing (is that the word I want here?) like that?

stunnedmulletreddit5 karma

I complained on her 24/7. I think they didn't find it to be a big deal. It's hard to fire somebody for being too Christian in a company that is about helping otherwise helpless children. She was pretty safe in her bigotry.

But no, it's not super common. It happens, but for me it was just bad luck. She's the only case-worker I had that wasn't a totally solid human being. The two after her were really cool. Though I get along with my current one less than the one before her. Each of them are total work-horses though and very great personalities.

Enchanted_Bunny2 karma

How common are atheist adoptive or foster parents?

stunnedmulletreddit1 karma

I've never met one. Or an athiest case-manager. All my foster parents, case-managers, case-workers, and THEIR respective managers were very strongly(two offendingly so) Christian.

I'm sure they exist though. I'd bet that it would be another good mark on your background check as far as the higher ups are concerned, but being atheist certainly shouldn't hurt you.

bynL2 karma

What are the best qualities a Social Worker can possess? What helps kids, and what hinders?

stunnedmulletreddit6 karma

My absolute least favorite case-worker was a devout Christian, which is a fine quality, but she campaigned against my atheism until we hated each-other. She thought my problems shouldn't be fixed by her. She would just lecture me about Christianity while I had to go to her higher ups to actually get things done on my case. This sucked because I'm lazy and bad with business-y things. That's why I'm an actor. We're so much simpler than paperwork.

The best case worker I had, would volunteer to sit down and have conversations, even when we didn't have much in common. She sincerely cared, worked hard to remember my interests, and would take me to lunch somewhere really cheap and just let me talk at her. She was very efficient business-wise and that's awesome, but she was also the first case-worker I had that really listened and cared about my interests and not just my case. If you treat these kids like they're distant cousins and show some interest they'll really enjoy your company even if you don't get alone. That's my take at least. Of course if you just click with the kid, that's cool too. I had a temporary case-worker when they were figuring out where to put me who I could just talk and get along with. I was still way young then, but he was a boss. But you can't click naturally with everyone, so being sincerely interested as a person is great too.

vjarnot2 karma

put back in when I had to attend college and put up a little fight later that same year for the college benefits.

What does this mean? You were involuntarily "put back in", or you fought to get "put back in"?

Expand on "college benefits", if you would.

stunnedmulletreddit6 karma

If you age out of foster care at the age of 18 and then take one college class before you're 21, you get free college in your state for life. I think it has to do with me falling out of the system for half a year-ish, but I only get it free until I'm 23. Still, it's pretty awesome.

sccoll2 karma

Are you a Red Sox fan?

stunnedmulletreddit18 karma

I've been waiting for that question. Story time: My highschool theatre teacher has one of the greatest families I know. The dad totally sees me as a hipster non-comformist. We talk about stuff like wrestling a lot, and he thinks I hate this guy and like this guy based on popularity. He one day went off on a business trip and watched a redsox game. When he came back he had the hat and said:

"Hey, Arron. I got something for you. Now, hear me out on this. You hate conforming, and you're in Texas, where everybody has a strong opinion. You love seeing people disagree, so I got you a Red Sox hat. I know you hate most sports, but these guys are really not popular in Texas(this was true. My History teacher called me out and told me to turn it around at the beginning of the year). If you wear this hat, you'll spark a few more of your non-conformist arguments."

It was so thoughtful and sincere that I've worn it almost every day since. I'm wearing it now. Haha. I don't know the first thing about the Red Sox.

hindleg2 karma

My wife and I just finished training to be foster/adoptive parents here in California. Any advice about the process from a kid's point of view?

stunnedmulletreddit2 karma

There's a chance they'll be in a shell for a while and be hesitant. It'll pass way quick though to the best of my knowledge. If it's just one kid, make sure that he is capable of having friends around his own age or he'll start to feel really trapped. You guys will be his friends second or third. If you have kid already, it'd be awesome. I don't know how well a pet would work. We had one, but we were also a foster group of 4-6. I think a big thing is that they'll almost never be what you expect. Five or six kids in at one of my homes, we were still getting no two kids alike. It's exhausting with some of them to get them to calm down and listen. With others it's exhausting to get them to respond and reach out to them. Finally, be wary of pot. I've seen a ton of kids start smoking pot in foster care. I don't know what your take on marijuana is, but I watched well over half the kids become pot-smokers just because in the system. All males, though. Like... one chick was a strong maybe. I have absolutely no advice or knowledge for girls. I was only in all-boys homes, and I barely spoke with the foster girls of the home we visited a lot. I couldn't co-exist with them.

homocrapien2 karma

Such a good thread.

stunnedmulletreddit1 karma

Thanks. You're a great person.

NakedObeseSnake2 karma

Do you have loud sex?

stunnedmulletreddit6 karma

I have only had one girlfriend. We broke up at the beginning of this year. We never got loud, but we also didn't get to have as much sex as I wanted. I lived with friends a lot in high school, so you can imagine how wary you get.

mitchbones2 karma

Do you like stories about super heroes that are orphans?

stunnedmulletreddit1 karma

I love them if they're done well, or if they're classics. Not just superheroes. I love Superman, Goku, Batman, Aang. If you have dead parents, there's just a huge chance that you're already a superhero in disguise. But if I read a poorly invented hero today who's biggest staple is that his parents are dead, I'd suspect that they're just chasing a cliche.

[deleted]2 karma

Hey. I was taken away from my mother at age 5 and was in fostercare till age 11, until I was finally adopted. I've enjoyed reading this AMA. Thanks.

stunnedmulletreddit1 karma

My pleasure. I hope you're happy in your newer home.

[deleted]2 karma

No. Haha. Im an adult now. Which made this AMA much better. I looked back on a lot of things. Very thought provoking. :)

stunnedmulletreddit1 karma

Even better.

Enchanted_Bunny2 karma

My wife and I are going to adopt a CPS child. Any advice?

stunnedmulletreddit1 karma

Love them like they're your own and try to bare an open mind if they do and react in ways that aren't normal or rational. There's a huge difference in some of us than a lot of day-to-day kids. Another big thing is stay consistant in your rules and reasoning. I've yet to see a foster kid who doesn't try to fight the system you make and I think it helps them to learn to accept authority when it's firm but also reasonable.

OhEdibleness2 karma

You say you have some cool stories and obviously want to share so go ahead! Also what thing about the services do you think would surprise non CPS people if they knew about it?

stunnedmulletreddit11 karma

1: CPS Can mafia your ass. I got put in an abusive home where almost ever kid ran away, and they over-medicated me to the point of narcolepsy and constantly talked down on me. There are a lot of bad people in the system, but there are definitely more good people. A shocking story my foster dad told me last time he and I had lunch a few months back was: A while back a little girl who was 2 or 3 got taken from her home because her parents would smoke weed in a designated area when she was in bed. It was completely controlled and in no way could it harm her. They also still monitored her so they were maximizing their responsibility. She was put in one home who took decent care of her, but she got moved. In the second home she was beaten to death within a month. To the best of my knowledge it's a true story.

My personal stories? One of my brothers (the favorite one, Marcus) had never masturbated before in his life when he one day got head from his batshit crazy girlfriend. He and she became sexually active and he started having phone sex 24/7. Eventually, he told our foster father Rodney that his penis hurt and he needed to go to the doctor right away. When they got to the doctor it turned out he was masturbating six times a day every day and was essentially just sore from never resting the little guy. He was such a character. One kid I knew in Cedar Crest (a ten-month stay) was 12 and was about to turn thirteen, so they let him live with the teens. His name was Jacob, I think and he had a slightly lower than average IQ. I was popular-ish when he was brought in, and I had no idea that he looked up to me for a while. He started calling me his big brother, and I had never been so honored and touched. The day he was told I was going to leave he sat down next to me and said "Aaron... You're like a big brother to me. I sure am gonna be sad when you leave." I told him I appreciated it. I really loved this kid later on, and I think I did the staff a few favors at times talking him down.(Some of us would argue with the staff for the sake of it. It was better if the kids became a team and talked each-other down most of the time. So when I told him I appreciated it, he sat in silence for a good half a minute and then said "When you leave... can I give you a hug?" I laughed and told him of course he could. To which he responded "I may even break down and give you two hugs." I'll never forget that kid as long as I live

Third story: One of my brothers(he didn't last long before getting put someplace else) was named Austin. Austin was the first and only Kleptomaniac I've ever met. It might have been no coincidence that he was a juggalo. He snuck out of our room every night for like two weeks straight and would always come back with all this shit that he stole. One day, I wake up to this extremely loud hiss, and intense heat. He woke me up with a damn blowtorch! I was so pissed, but I couldn't do anything because I was cornered and terrified in my "I just woke up" drowse, so I just peddled my legs and screamed "fuck you, Austin! Fuck you!" Until he turned it off. True story.

AlanaK1683 karma

What happened to the aduls that beat the little girl to death? Please tell me they were put in jail.

stunnedmulletreddit2 karma

I'm sure they didn't get off easy. I'll ask him next time I see him, but I couldn't give you the answer. I hope they were put away for a long time as well. I say "they", but I'm pretty sure he told the story as though it were a single mother. Don't quote me on that part though. I'm pretty good at being wrong for details like that in a story.

baobei19482 karma

Did you keep in contact with any of these foster brothers??

stunnedmulletreddit1 karma

I have two of them on my facebook. Marcus and the one I met when he was eleven, David. David seems to be going through normal teenager stuff. Marcus dropped out of high school, didn't get his GED and I don't know what he's doing now. He stopped talking to me when he dropped out and I told him that was stupid. My ex-foster dad still gives me a bit of a scoop on them every now and again. He doesn't have much though. Just a "Here's how they're doing".

OhEdibleness1 karma

That was a fantastic response- Thank you! Final Qs: 1. Did you get to give the kid a hug when you eventually left? 2. What's a juggalo?

stunnedmulletreddit3 karma

Things like hugging is really frowned upon in there. But when we're on the way out, we're allowed to walk through the on-campus school and say goodbye to everyone. I was told I couldn't hug the kid. So I did. Twice. And the staff member didn't say anything about it. I think he was pretty happy to see it happen.

Edit: Forgot to answer second half. A juggalo is... well you probably want to youtube and wikipedia it. Suffice to say if you listen to the Insane Clown Posse and are a die hard fan of the "horror rap" genre, you're probably a juggalo. You should definitely look it up. It's interesting.

UtterlyInsane-1 karma


stunnedmulletreddit2 karma

Jiggalo. Juggalo isn't quite the same. But they get that a lot.

UtterlyInsane4 karma

Oh, it appears that my "I'm an idiot" meter has maxed out.

stunnedmulletreddit4 karma

Nah. I've been called out a few times the other way around. Juggalos aren't super common knowledge, but appearently Jiggalos are. When somebody is in a crowded room and talks about it, some people will always make that connection. It's never failed me. No shame.

SP19932 karma

If you were to get married someday, would you consider adoption on top of having your own children?

stunnedmulletreddit4 karma

My girlfriend and I talked a lot about adopting two Asians. I really want to adopt, but recently I've really wanted to be a dad with my own flesh and blood. Honestly, I would just love to get to raise a child. I would probably go completely fifty-fifty until my significant other came into the game. I'd let her pick, but play devil's advocate. I'd really love to adopt one and have one, too.

Abridged answer: I would and do consider it strongly, but I don't have a final answer.

OhEdibleness3 karma

Would you adopt young or try and adopt older to help those that you may relate to?

stunnedmulletreddit5 karma

I would probably adopt young first. Raise a kid the right way and get a grip on how to be a parent from scratch. Then after my child aged to the age of 13 or 14, I'd get my wife's and my child's opinion on adopting a child the same age as him/her. I think one of the biggest things about the adoption is the amount of talking and preparing it would take, but that's how I would really like to go about it.

OlderThanGif1 karma

Do you have any problems relating to people in college? A lot of college kids can be pretty spoiled (still getting their parents to do their laundry or whatever) and you've experienced all sorts of crazy shit, so is there any trouble relating to people or making good friends or anything?

stunnedmulletreddit5 karma

  1. I have absolute terrible luck with girls. It's a lonliness thing, but I invest way too heavily in something that probably shouldn't work out anyway.

  2. Holidays. I'm packing now for Thanksgiving tomorrow with my roommate. I'm technically homeless outside of the dorms, so every time the dorms close for any amount of time, I have to figure out where I'll be imposing and such. My best friend/roommate Blake is an awesome guy. He and I are the closest. He's not very spoiled either.

It's amazing how many people here have beef with their parents. The sports kids seem to be consistently richer than us theatre kids, so we all lump ourselves in the same boat as "we're all poor college kids and they're not". It's never too difficult. I admittedly don't like venturing too far out of my comfort zone with people unless friends are around, but I think that's a lot of people.

Kidkreep1 karma

What are you going to college for?

stunnedmulletreddit3 karma

I'm an acting major. I was way surprised last week when I googled myself and the cover picture of our latest show appeared.

robertgfthomas1 karma

For uploading pictures, go to You can drag-and-drop your photos right onto the webpage.

stunnedmulletreddit5 karma

You're an all-star, and I thank you for that. I'm new here.

fa531 karma

What was your transition program like?

stunnedmulletreddit3 karma

Explain the question a bit?

fa531 karma

When you turned 18.

stunnedmulletreddit5 karma

Haha. My bad. Mine wasn't by the book, really. I turned 18 and moved into a house that wasn't a foster house, because I was putting my foster parent under investigation. The case worker I had at the time was a total space-case, and didn't file the paperwork in the required sixty days and I just got a phone call one day saying I was dropped. It was really anti-climactic and I think the lady never liked me anyway. But she didn't sign the paperwork and she skimped out on those two monthly allowances. I was living with a friend, so I had to freeload off them for about year. It was a bit of a shock. When I left that house to go to college I started fighting to get back in since I legally aged out of care when I turned 18 anyway.

They normally offer you free college if you age out. I'm using it now at Grayson College in Grayson Texas.

M_BEEZY3 karma

I go to Grayson also. It is so sad to hear that the system in such a relatively small community is failing. I thought about being a social worker for a while, but I honestly don't think I would be able to handle it. Thanks for doing this AMA, it's really insightful. Keep your head up! Best of luck!

stunnedmulletreddit3 karma

It didn't fail me in Grayson. I lived as a foster kid in Anna about thirty-five minutes away. And the community in North Texas has always felt pretty wonderful to me. Most of the workers on my file were either East-Texan where I originated, or from Dallas because they have to cover big areas. I love the community of the surrounds towns though. Living in and around the Grayson/Collin County areas has been the best. If you go to Grayson you've possibly seen me. I never go anywhere without my red hat.

M_BEEZY2 karma

Haha yeah man, I live literally 30 seconds from Anna. I go there sometimes to get food. Yeah people from Dallas are definitely different than people in the more northern part of Texas for sure. And I might have. I do most of my classes on the internet because I hate people, haha. How old are you? and what types of classes have you taken? Maybe we might of had some of the same.

stunnedmulletreddit2 karma

Mostly acting classes. I'd have known you from there. If you've taken Girard last semester, I had her a lot. I've had Composition twice with Garcia and Key, and I just dropped a history class with Hamilton? I'm 5'3 with facial hair and always around a short half-black girl. If you ever see me, lemme know. I'll feel like a celebrity for a second, haha.

yellowfish6421 karma

Said half black girl sounds hot. She your girlfriend?

stunnedmulletreddit2 karma

You should ask her. She's a Redditer who goes by the username yellowfish642...

PlaysWithF1r31 karma

I, too, was a foster child, however, I stayed with my grandmother.

Did your state offer transition services? Mine didn't but it made financial aid for college a lot less loan-heavy than normal students.

Also, how did it feel to get your emancipation letter from the state (assuming you did)?

stunnedmulletreddit2 karma

I don't even think I got it. I answered below that I just got a phone call telling me I didn't age out. Then when I went to put up a fight months later they said I did age out. It was done really sloppily.

I do take full advantage of my free college, though they seem to have embellished it. They advertised that it's free for life(kind of. Some stuff isn't paid), but mine is just until I'm 23. I'm not gonna argue with five years of paid college though.

SuperToga1 karma

Why did you get put into the system?

stunnedmulletreddit2 karma

Fully around 15. Partially at 13 because the staff saw that I was a cutter at my junior high.

stunnedmulletreddit2 karma

Thought that said "when". Sorry. I was a case of my own. I swallowed a few things. Half a razor blade once, and some thumbtacks another time. I had also swallowed some pills(turned out they were very nonlethal in case I did something like that so I felt mega-stupid) and once a bit of bleach, but bleach is not how anyone should want to die. That stuff is awful and I barely got any at all)

themelephant2 karma

What kind of care did you receive after swallowing thumbtacks and razors? They didn't perforate any of your organs?

stunnedmulletreddit2 karma

So I totally didn't know this about the razor blade. But you can google it. The disposable razor blades can dissolve in stomach acid easily. I learned that this year and it answered a number of questions.

The had me monitered in a hospital for several days to insure they passed safely through my body. No serious damage. Which kind of sucks in a way because it also means I have to tell people that it's a true story a million times but I can't provide a ton of proof unless I phone up an old friend from that town or something.

Edit: Second paragraph was about the thumbtacks.

asdd19371 karma

What do you think the parent's role in a child's life should be?

stunnedmulletreddit3 karma

As a kid who didn't really have parent parents, I would say you need to be the person they look up to and can count on. They grow up knowing that everything they get the tend to get from you. You should make sure they know they are always loved and always have you. Children should be shown a level of unconditional love. You need to protect them and teach them so they can be ready to leave you and want to come back. I've seen people afraid to even talk about their folks. You've just got to put your kids first, I guess.

ellbot1 karma


stunnedmulletreddit4 karma

I was never taught to drive. I had to figure that out with a non-foster family. I've still only driven about five times. Teaching them how to drive and how to look into money about things like that and how to put money away is huge. I didn't learn a lot of basic things like dishes and laundry because everyone expected me to have learned it in the place before. Make sure he's not stupid about his actions sexually. It's so common for ex-foster kids to think that because we've had hard times we're adults and ready to prove out parents wrong by raising our own kids. That kid will soon be in CPS, I've watched it happen. I also wish people taught me more in the field of job-interviews. Applications are really about repetition and you figure that out over time. But I've seen kids just see the opportunity to succeed and blow it for themselves because of stuff like that. If he's going to college, it's going to be really rough to prioritize working his own hours if he's like the people I know. We put it off and then let it fall through the cracks. I think it's important that a lot of foster kids decide whether or not college is even for them in advance. Because it's a lot harder on some of us to be told "college is mostly free" and then turn it down. We're seldom told that there's a high chance of failure and normally in CPS when you fail college you're left with a backpack and hopefully a friend to bum a house from.

Also, thanks for being there for him. That's a big deal. My theatre highschool teacher is kind of my mentor. She gave me a place to stay and helped me get a job over the summer. That kind of thing won't ever be forgotten. You're very much a hero if you're anything like she was.

ellbot1 karma


stunnedmulletreddit2 karma

Likewise. Thanks for the questions.

read_dance_love1 karma

I hesitate to ask this because I'm afraid of it being insensitive, but I'll give it a shot.

You've mentioned that in Texas all people who age out of CPS at 18 are given a free college education. Do you think this is fair given that there are so many others who struggle to pay for school? I'm not saying that there should be no resources for young adults who have aged out of the system, but this does strike me as lot of financial support compared to kids who were never in the system.

stunnedmulletreddit6 karma

I'm glad you asked. Believe it or not, of all the kids I've known in CPS(literally dozens, of course.) 3,including myself, have taken advantage of the offer. A lot of kids don't age out, and it sounds pretty. They actually don't have to shell out a ton of cash. Like, they've probably not even covered 10k in my expenses for two years. Most kids don't want the benefit or don't go through the entire system. Since the paperwork becomes more difficult, a lot of the kids don't come out okay, and a lot of people either leave the system or (like in my desciption) get screwed by paperwork, it's really not a lot of kids to look out for.

Totally not insensitive. It's a great question. And yeah, the answer is just that almost nobody takes advantage of the offer. Otherwise they'd change it.

Sleven2009-1 karma


stunnedmulletreddit2 karma

This has to be Seve. Handsome Jack is super 3dimensional. Tiny Tina and Torgue are freaking hilarious. Three way tie, but I love to play as Krieg. I love over-meleeing in an fps game.

And no. No I have not.