Hi everyone!

My name is Dylan McIntosh. I'm an emancipated foster youth. I'm 21 years old, and currently living in Cleveland, Ohio. I spent 9 years in foster care, from 1997 to 2001, and 2006 to 2011. I aged out of care without ever being adopted.

My parents weren't good parents. Both were heavy drug users, and alcoholics. They probably shouldn't have had children, nor tried to take care of any. I was born 3 months premature, weighing in at 1 pound, 12 ounces. Long story short, I was a handful. I had physical and mental limits. Limits that my parents didn't understand. From an early age, I was used to being beaten, for no apparent reason. If I got a D on a math test, I'd get what my father called a 'tune up'. Where he'd beat me, until I understood. Once, for whatever reason, my father told me 'I'm going to hit you so hard, you won't be able to sit down tomorrow.' He beat me with a wooden sword. I went to school the next day, and told my teacher I wasn't allowed to sit down. I was 3 and a half years old. That was my first foray into foster care.

During that first stint, I lived with 3 different families. A short term placement that lasted a week. (I don't quite remember them). A placement with my aunt and uncle for 6 months. They were horrible to me. I was locked in the basement, most of my time there. The 3rd family was amazing. They loved me, and cared for me, as parents should. I never went hungry (although at times, I may have been picky). I was a normal child..for 3 years.

My parents fought in court, to get me back. That was the summer of 2001. Being a child, my only concern was to rejoin my family, because I was sure I loved them. I was also on the cusp of being put up for adoption. Unfortunately, my parents won me back in court. They took parenting courses, and proved to the local government of Cuyahoga County, that they were fit to be parents. They weren't.

From 7 years old, to 13 years old I lived with my parents. Times weren't good. My father still beat me, and berated me, and made my life quite awful. My mother, although not violent towards me, let it happen. She stood by his side. At 13, I went back into care. March 19th, 2006. I remember the day like it was yesterday.

From then on, I lived in a multitude of homes. From a seemingly normal family, to a bachelor lawyer, to an elderly couple who were in their early 70s. I got to see many different family dynamics. I got to experience how many other people lived. To this day, I use many of the skills I learned from living with so many different types of people.

At 18, I aged out. I was by myself.

Now, I've been able to do so many things. I wrote about my experience, for a non profit, Children's Rights, twice. the honor of being the keynote speaker at Children's Rights' annual charity benefit, in October of 2013, which helped raise over $500,000 for their efforts to reform child welfare. I met Alicia Keys, Swizz Beats, DMC, Rosie Perez, and many more. A wonderful opportunity, to be honest.

Now, I work for a distribution company, JAS Solutions. I was given this opportunity to better myself. We sell an oil absorbent, and it's super effective. It's my dream job. Eventually, I'd like to earn enough and start a non profit that helps foster children aging out of the system. An organization that provides support with all aspects of reaching adulthood, such as psychological, financial, housing, education, and many more. It's just a dream, so far. Maybe one day I'll accomplish it.

Here's all my proof. :)

the local news did two stories on me:

  1. http://www.wkyc.com/story/news/local/2013/12/02/foster-care-aging-out-homeless-childrens-rights/3813405/

  2. http://www.wkyc.com/story/news/features/2013/12/18/foster-care-homeless-aging-out-children/4115431/

Here are both my blogs for Children's Rights:

  1. http://www.childrensrights.org/news-events/cr-blog/uncertainty-and-a-black-trash-bag/

  2. http://www.childrensrights.org/news-events/cr-blog/instability-2/

To find out more about how you can help fight the good fight: Go to www.childrensrights.org

Disclaimer: I, in no way represent Children's Rights. They are their own entity. I just had the wonderful opportunity to work with them. They're good people. Please check them out.

To see the blogs of others, please go to www.fosteringthefuture.com

Also, please be gentle. There are certain things I'm not comfortable talking about. I'm new at this.

Thanks so much!

EDIT: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll be back in a bit, to answer more questions! I'm just utterly exhausted. Keep sending questions! I'll do my best to answer them all!!!

EDIT: This concludes the AMA! Thank you all for providing me the opportunity to answer your questions! Hopefully I've helped some people. You guys are great, and I couldn't feel more loved! Love and positive energy!


Comments: 1190 • Responses: 83  • Date: 

Phated2845785 karma

13 years and 42 homes. 16 homes and 12 different high schools, in just those 4 years. Still managed to graduate with my class. My mother used what she called the "Board of Education"... a 2x4 with a handle. Only lived with her from 6 to 11, ending her rights at the ripe age of 12.

As someone who ran through a very similar life as you, and just so happened to turn out... "normal"... I have a few questions...

  1. I was placed in State ran group-homes (7+ kids, one roof) multiple times. What, if any, where your experiences with those types of homes? Anything you would do differently in their operation?

  2. In State ran foster homes, where you ever placed in a home that mis-treated you?

  3. Did you have any experience with private foster care? ie non-state ran, both non-profit and profit?

  4. Do you think the number of "Cash Checkers" in the foster care system is a good thing or a bad thing? (These are foster parents who do it for the money, while treating the kids rather poorly. These range in extremes.)

  5. Do you keep in contact with any of your foster parents in the past?

  6. Have you spoken to your parents since aging out?

  7. Perhaps the biggest. I'm 28 now, so its been a decade and I've had the blessing of time to heal many of my old wounds of the past, but have you done anything so that you personally will not continue the cycle of violence in your family?

Thank you for taking the time. I'm mostly a lurker, but this is also something I've done things for in the past, and something that hits rather close to home... Have a wonderful day, thanks for posting!

dylson129619 karma

Sorry it took me a bit to get to this question.

  1. I was in a residential treatment facility. It was AWFUL, to say the least. Staff were abusive, and kids were just not nice. I hated it.

  2. Physically, no. I had one foster mom who had a child they adopted. She asked me a few weeks prior to Christmas: "Is it okay if we don't get you anything for Christmas? Would you feel bad?". That SUCKED.

  3. One family I stayed with went through a private foster care provider. They were sooooooooooo nosy. I had no freedom from them. They wanted to know every detail of my personal life. I hated it.

  4. I think they're bad! It's slavery, and it's absolute BS. No kid should be put through that. No one should be foster parents, just for the money. It's not fair.

  5. I keep in touch with one foster dad. The lawyer. He's a good guy. Gotta love him. He instilled love in my heart.

  6. I've talked to my mother. She was an accomplice, but she's still my mother. I just can't forgive my father. :(

  7. I'm not a violent person. Not at all. I haven't hurt anyone on purpose, let alone at all. My dad was just a stubborn drunk. He had no control.

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I appreciate the time you took to write this. Props to you, man! Much success in the future!

KidBandit334 karma

Did you get really attached to any of the families you lived with? Were they hard to let go after you had to transfer to another family?

dylson129615 karma

I had a foster father. He was a lawyer. An amazing man, that took care of me, when I thought all hope was lost. He took a job in another state, and left me. That was the worst.

Leaving one family for another wasn't a good thing. It was so difficult. I suppose most kids learn to adapt, after awhile.

xavjones172 karma

I can only imagine how tough that was to have him leave. Did/Do you find it difficult to get close to people after that? How have your closest relationships since then been?

dylson129388 karma

In the past, trust issues have just destroyed my personal life. I grew paranoid, and afraid. I didn't know what was around the corner, so I just didn't move forward.

I went into a very deep depression when he left me. Imagine a breakup, but your life falls apart as well.

Today, I've learned to move ahead, albeit very cautiously.

DrizztDoUrdenZ298 karma

I want to hug you bro.

dylson129288 karma

Hugs are accepted. :)


Do you still keep In contact with the lawyer? Or any other families including you bio parents?

dylson129321 karma

I had lunch with the lawyer, last week. He seems proud of me. At least, I hope he is.

My bio parents suck. They were nothing but awful. I tolerate them, mostly.

cunttard103 karma

He took a job in another state, and left me.

Was there an option to go with?

dylson129172 karma

The county wanted to make a dual placement. I'd stay with one family during the week, and the lawyer during the weekends. The lawyer said no.

purni110 karma

When you had lunch did he apologize for hurting you?

dylson129448 karma

He said "My only regret is not being able to keep you with me."

6h0zt81 karma

Was there any specific reasoning why or why not? I should hope that he was trying to make things easier (traveling and whatnot).

dylson129250 karma

He told me that he didn't want to displace me any more than he already had.

Thatsnotcoolbro6052 karma

I read your blog about your lawyer foster father. Do you still talk to him?

dylson129143 karma

We had lunch a few weeks ago. He's a good guy. He says he's proud of me.

pingsinger322 karma

I'm looking into doing some volunteer work and I recently learned about CASA. Do you have any experience with this group? Do you think it helps?

dylson129338 karma

To be entirely honest, I've never worked directly with CASA, but I know many who do. Send me a message, and I'll get you in touch with someone more knowledgeable than myself. :) I'm super happy that you're involved with charity work. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

arieschick82245 karma

My husband and I have thought of adopting or fostering. We have two small boys of our own, are well off and I do not want to be pregnant again. What do you think of people w children fostering children? What were your experiences?

dylson129426 karma

I strongly suggest fostering children. :)

If you do, make sure that you don't put your children above them. Remember, they're all kiddos, and they're all going to see if you put one on a pedestal. They're all equals.

Thanks for the great question!

pinkelephant3205 karma

As a current foster care social worker I'm sorry the system failed you, you should never have gone home and even if they sent you home it should have been monitored. I'm glad you made it out and are able to be a productive member of society.

dylson129177 karma

I appreciate your support.

It's a daily struggle. One day, I'll move past it and be who I want to be. For now, I just need to work on me. :)

Again, thank you. I appreciate all you do. I had one case worker for 4 years. That's pretty much unheard of. I know your workloads are intense, and I'm just grateful you guys are on the front lines.

ArsenalZT39 karma

Thank you for the AMA, I know it doesn't mean much but.it's inspiring and feels good to know that when a kid gets into that system there is still hope for them as an individual. I mean this in the best possible way, any thought of trying therapy with the goal of talking about what stable relationships look like?

dylson12958 karma

I'm in therapy. It helps SO MUCH. Having a non judgmental ear to listen is something that's amazing.

I work hard to be better. It just takes time. :)

funnygreensquares152 karma

Is there something like a make a wish for Foster kids? A charity that grants wishes or provides fun for kids in the system? There should be.

dylson129284 karma

There is! It's an organisation called 'One Simple Wish'.

On twitter, they're @OneSimpleWish

They've granted thousands of wishes for foster children. They even granted mine.

Ask for Danielle. She's the Executive Director. Tell her Dylan sent you. :)

funnygreensquares93 karma

I interned with make a wish in their wish granting department. Since then I'm pretty sure I want to spend my free time and disposable income doing things like helping charities.

What was your wish?

dylson129170 karma

I really really wanted a couch. But unfortunately the logistics didn't work out.

So I got a $100 Visa gift card, during the holidays. It was nice. :)

oldswirlo147 karma

Hey Dylan! I work for a nonprofit in California that serves current and former foster youth. Specifically, I manage a transitional housing program that provides support for emancipated youth, ages 18-24. I love my job and am inspired and challenged by the youth I work with every day. I'm not sure if you're aware, but California also recently extended foster care until the age of 21, since many were aging out into homelessness and worse. Are there similar laws/initiatives in Ohio?

dylson129114 karma


I do know there's an initiative here in Ohio. I do know that it has gained quite some traction. There's a big push here.

Again, I'm not sure about how useful increasing the time kids are in care. Why not just prepare them to age out, at a younger age?

babyeatingdingoes77 karma

Because at 18 you might not even be finished high school yet? (especially if bouncing from place to place means 6 schools in 4 years). 18 is too young to be on your own completely, even if you are taught excellent life skills. I'm not saying kids need to be in foster care till they're 30, but some added support for those 18-21 can't really be a bad thing can it?

dylson12989 karma

Added support, yes. In care til 21, no.

babyeatingdingoes39 karma

What if they're given increased independence while still living under the foster's roof? Is this particular system irrevocably broken or are there ways to improve it bit by bit?

dylson12948 karma

That could work!

Proper guidance is necessary for something like that.

Just_love1776118 karma

Would you say that knowing what you do now, it might have been better for you if you had not been allowed to live with your parents again and maybe only had supervised visitation?

dylson129239 karma

I guess I wouldn't want things to change. I'm who I am, today, so I've got that going for me.

Hypothetically speaking, I'd love nothing more than to have stayed in care and not placed back with my parents. I could potentially have been adopted, and had some sort of stability.

yenyang164 karma

Was also in foster care. Family fought in court to get me back. Now 45. Can confirm. I should never have been returned to birth parents. Just live with gusto OP. Glad you are speaking up for children's rights. Advocacy and action means so much!

dylson129112 karma

I think things would've been much better if my family hadn't gotten me back.

I'm happy to have the chance to advocate. Without foster care, I wouldn't have a reason to help.

Thank you for your support. It means the world!

Just_love177634 karma

I can understand that. My dad was never a good parent and my mom was always on drugs but the only time the state was involved with my siblings and me was for a short time after the divorce when we were very little. We became very close because of it and i plan to write a book soon to try to help others cope with their problems through our experiences.

dylson12936 karma

Good on you. I'm so happy that you'd like to share such a time. Again, good on you. :)

dylson12994 karma

Hey Everyone!

In case any of you guys are interested, I work for a wonderful company called JAS Solutions. (JASsolutions.net)

My company distributes an oil absorbent. I honestly could use some help in reaching out to people, and getting demonstrations going. I'm quite horrible at it, and it'd be an AMAZING help. If any of you guys know anyone interested, We have a product demonstration on YouTube. It's here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ab3AkU6M12o

Again. I could use your guys' help in spreading the word. This job is how I'm going to move forward with my non profit.

Thanks again! Apologies if it was a plug.

kispofa65 karma

what's your feelings on the state of Foster Care from your experience? what improvements could be made?

dylson129223 karma

The current state of foster care, scares the life out of me. Some families are genuinely great. Some families are just alright. Some, are just downright awful, and abusive. Some families 'recruit' children to work for them, by providing slave like conditions. There are so many documented cases. It's horrible.

Children are removed from a hazardous situation, and thrust right into an equally bad, or worse situation. That shouldn't happen. Foster parents need to be screen 1000 times more than they are. One foster father I had turned out to be a registered sex offender. :(

pwniess60 karma

My parents are foster parents so growing up with many different brothers and sisters is all I know and I just wanna say that I'm sorry you bounced around from home to home and were never adopted.

Congrats on your successes since then. You should write an autobiography. :)

dylson12949 karma

The thought of writing an autobiography has crossed my mind, numerous times. I just honestly wouldn't know where to start.

rrodvictim0257 karma

May I ask what your race is? I heard that black kids have it worst, as they are least likely to be adopted, can you expanding upon this?

dylson12977 karma

I'm Caucasian. It honestly depends on the child. I had lots of offers for adoption, but unfortunately none of them had any success. It just didn't work out.

Race probably plays a role in adoption. I had tons of interest in me, according to my agency. But again, I could've just presented myself well.

Ceedub26050 karma

Hello fellow foster brother! I spent 9 years as well. 95 to 2003.

dylson12942 karma

Sending positive energy your way, brother.

Much luck. :)

llosa47 karma

Did you ever lose hope after a few families, and think 'I'm never going to find a family that likes me'?

How did the children in the families typically react to your arrival?

Why did you change families if you found a 'normal family' or that nice elderly couple? Just curious as to how the process works.

dylson12972 karma

I lost hope very quickly. Being in foster care is something of a roller coaster without seat belts. Most kids have been abused, and they're going to have some sort of problem. They're thrust from a nice family, for a multitude of reasons. I don't think anyone truly understands why a child is moved to a new family, group home, or residential facility. Some kids get left in a group home, and don't see their caseworkers but once every 6 months.

spitfire910736 karma

but all jokes aside my question is how will your experience as a child affect how you raise your children?

dylson12997 karma

Being physically and emotionally abused as a child really opened my eyes. I'm able to look back and see how damaging that can be to anyone. I'll show my children nothing but love. I've also been fortunate to learn that I'm in no place to judge anyone. We all come from somewhere.

beour-horr35 karma

You seem to have really beaten the odds and turned out really successful. How do you think you managed to break the cycle and become a well-balanced adult, despite the predispositions and environments you were exposed to?

dylson12980 karma

I'm only 21. I still have a very long way to go. I can honestly say I'm still working towards being better. I'm in therapy, and I do take medication. It's very difficult for me. Each day is a battle with my anxiety. I fear the worst, and it knocks me out some days.

talesofdouchebaggery35 karma

What's it like when you age out of the system? Do you just get put out on the streets? Do you get any government assistance for college or trade school?

dylson12997 karma

Aging out, in 2011, was awful. I actually moved to Mexico. Lived there for a year and a half, and taught English. I then took a job on an oil field in West Virginia.

I wasn't thinking about what the government could do for me. I was thinking "How the hell can I not have to deal with them anymore?"

Spinneretty33 karma

I work at a Foster center for boys ages 8 to 18 in Oregon. I'm only part of the kitchen staff that provides meals for the boys that live at the center and others that attend for school. The center deals specifically with boys who have been in juvenile centers for everything from theft, violence, sexual harassment, abandonment, and so on. They're a rough crowd and I worry about the likelihood of their making it into adulthood.

I want to know if there's is something I or anyone else could do to help these boys while they're going through what you've gone through.

dylson12957 karma

Well, a nonprofit that I absolutely adore, is called 'Children's Rights'. They're a watchdog organization, and they're absolutely wonderful. They literally sue states, and reform their entire foster care system.

Visit Childrensrights.org

gothic__castle32 karma

Just want to tell you how much I admire you. I'm a social worker and have worked with developmentally delayed adults as well as teenage girls in state custody. The things they have been through just make me ache and hate the world. I'm so glad to see that people can come out of social services and lead productive, inspiring lives like you. Awesome.

dylson12925 karma

Thank you for all you do! You're on the front lines.

I'm the utmost grateful!

Have a great night!

Disco_Drew30 karma

My mother does foster care in Alaska. What can I relay to her to make things better for those that she may foster?

dylson12960 karma

Just be there for the kiddos. They've all gone through something to be placed in care. Tell them they're loved. Tell them they matter.

Positive reinforcement goes a LONG way for these kiddos.

Tell her that I'm proud of what she's doing.

Eklektik29 karma


I don't really have a question. But, as someone who spent some time in foster care as a child, I applaud your help in fighting for children's rights.

I was abused physically and sexually in one of the foster homes that I was in, and I definitely plan on helping out through Children's Rights to ensure that doesn't happen to other children. I also work as a nanny and summer camp counselor to help other children.

dylson12925 karma

Thank you!

Please help all you can! Even if it's just $5, or volunteering with at risk youth.

People make the difference.

Thank you!

drunkenpinecone27 karma

I live in Cleveland and if youd like to ever meet up for lunch or whatnot...hit me up.

dylson12933 karma

Hey man. PM me your cell, or something.

Lunch is alwayyyysssss nice. :)

have a great night.

Maraqua25 karma


dylson129189 karma

When I was just turning 5 years old. I went with a wonderful family.

This was on a Sunday, I believe. I told them "Thursday is my birthday". They had just gotten me from the social services building. So they scrambled to get me a birthday party. They invited loads of people I didn't know, and bought me loads of gifts. At the end of the party, I had asked one of the father of my foster mother "what's gonna happen to all these toys?". He said "they're yours, Dylan". From what I was told, he just cried. Photo attached.


Justanafrican24 karma

You are a badass. You didn't have the basic security that most people take for granted. I'm sure you are stronger than most people who have yet to face as much adversity early on in their life. I've always wondered, when parents are looking to adopt, what incentive is there to adopt a teenager?

dylson12924 karma

I could be wrong, but I do believe there's a stipend.

There has to be some incentive.

Justanafrican9 karma

Do you consider being a foster parent in the future?

dylson12948 karma

I do. But not until I'm stable. I'm 21. I manage an apartment building, and I work for a distribution company, all while going to school full time.

Gotta stabilize first.

boredzter23 karma

What was the worst beating/punishment you ever got?

dylson12952 karma

My father stomped on my chest so many times, and broke several ribs. Keep in mind, I was 13, and quite small. Worst pain in my life. After he did that, I ran away from home, and went back to care. I couldn't take it.

billalphonso17 karma

Was he charged for assault?

dylson12936 karma

Nah. He spent a month in jail. That's it. My father pretty much got off scot free.

WieldingBluntObject119 karma

He didn't get off scot free.

He lost something more valuable than he'll ever know; the love and respect of a really amazing son.

dylson12947 karma

Thank you. That's nice to hear. :) I appreciate it.

NorbitGorbit22 karma

given your experience, do you think it's possible for a boarding school/commune to provide parenting services on a continuing basis that would be preferable to being shifted through multiple foster homes, or is it something that can't be professionalized?

dylson12923 karma

I like the idea. The implementation would be the difficult part. It's something similar to a group home. Group homes aren't fun. They're run privately, and run poorly.

To change, I'd like to see a bit more freedom go to the children. They're not kids there. They're treated like animals.

I'd love to hear your suggestions. I can forward them to the powers that be. :)

perpetuallycurious21 karma

My husband and I are thinking about being foster parents. We have no children right now, though we do plan to in the next few years.

My question is was there anything that the families you stayed with did that was particularly helpful (or anything they did that was detrimental)?

In other words, what could we do to help ease the transition and be a bright and safe place for a child in such negative circumstances?

dylson12920 karma

Give them love. Let them know it's there.

They'll accept it when they're ready. These kids have never had the opportunity to see joy, love, or real happiness.

Thank you! I'm super appreciative. :)

jjlinder21 karma

What good has come out of your experiences though the families you were with?

dylson12948 karma

I took at least one good thing from every family. (Not literally. I didn't steal, ahhah) But I learned. I lived with an elderly couple, and that taught me responsibility. The lawyer taught me independence. Another family taught me to be patient, and not get upset at a moment's notice.

I'm grateful to be able to have learned so much.

meggio21 karma

First of all, thanks for doing this AMA and working so hard to better others who are soon to be walking in your shoes. You're pretty much fantastic :D

Now, my question. Do you keep in touch with any of your previous foster families?

dylson12930 karma

I keep in touch with the foster father, who at the time, was a lawyer. He pretty much abandoned me. I forgave him, and we actually had lunch together not too long ago. He's a good guy, and made the choice that made the most sense to him.

He's the only one I keep in constant contact with.

dylson12926 karma

And I appreciate your thanks. The system has to change, and the children need to be in better hands. Even some foster parents are just awful.

Zombiz21 karma

Do you have a 'favorite' family you stayed with? Do you remain in contact with your parents?

dylson12949 karma

I'd say the lawyer I stayed with. He was soooooo lax. I was able to finally just calm down, and do things that were fun, and exciting. He took me to different cities, and showed me culture.

He then left, abruptly.

nottaclevername20 karma

As a psychiatric nurse on a child and adolescent inpatient unit I work with a lot of kids with Reactive Attachment Disorder. Is there any advice you can offer as to how to best help children who have been through situations similar to yours?

dylson12933 karma

I was told i had RAD.

My advice: Just be there. Let them know you care. Let them know you're a person they can talk to, and confide in. ALWAYS greet them with kindness, and warmth, and a smile.

Kindness. :)

y0y17 karma

You've had a chance to see the intimate lives of many different familial units. All families seem to have their quirks - that thing that as a kid you suddenly realize is weird when you go to someone else's house for dinner or some other event. What are some of the more interesting familial quirks you ran into?

dylson12929 karma

Oh gosh. I lived with this one family. They were considering adopting me.

The mother was late 40s. The father was mid 50s. They weren't married.

She once told me "I could easily cheat on him. He wouldn't even know. I bet you couldn't even tell."

Scarred me for life, man. :( That level of indecency.

y0y14 karma

She told you that!? Man, what a crazy woman. I feel bad for the guy. Also, what an odd situation.. unmaried, living together.. apparently unhappy? I wonder what makes some people choose to foster. The money? It can't be much. Your lawyer foster-father interested me, too. I had never considered the idea that there would be single men doing foster care. I don't know why.

dylson12921 karma

Funny story. The lawyer did it, only because he adopted his mother's son, because she had passed away. He had to become a foster parent to do that. I was in dire straits, so the county reached out to him. He pretty much couldn't say no, without feeling like a total douche.

h01115 karma

Hey man, from a fellow survivor, thanks for sharing your story. Congrats on surviving with your wits about you. In my case, which was much milder than yours, it took me so long to understand and process wtf exactly had happened to me, it was a difficult thing lasting through my 20s. But what's cool, in the process of following my dreams the burden has really lifted. Things are so much fucking better now than they ever were. And people who came up hard turn out the coolest. Keep your head up bro, thanks again for sharing.

dylson1298 karma

I appreciate you. Thank you!

I just need to work harder.

billalphonso14 karma

What is your relationship with your parents? Did you think any of the foster parents were in it for financial gain?

dylson12949 karma

I tolerate them. Sometimes I won't talk to them for months at a time. As a child, my parents concocted the idea that I was mentally challenged. They received SSI checks from the government, and used that to pay their mortgage. When I went into foster care, the government obviously found out that I functioned normally, so the SSI checks stopped. Apparently, it was my fault.

My parents still blame me for 'losing their house', to this day. To my parents, it's still a sore topic.


You need to tell them to fuck off and cut the poison out of your life.

dylson12931 karma

I've done that many times. They keep finding me, and they try to be nice. It's just not genuine.

OseanStratagy15 karma

Get a restraining order dude.

dylson12926 karma

I don't feel like going to court. It's all so stressful.

duckmurderer13 karma

All of the people I know who grew up in foster homes always seemed like there was something off whenever the topic came up. They aren't sick, or damaged, or otherwise unhealthy for having found a caring family but there's often a nonverbal cue that makes it seem as though they think there is.

Is there something that I, as a person who didn't grow up in a foster home, do or say to help them be comfortable during these situations?

dylson12917 karma

The best thing I could say, is to be there for them. Foster care is traumatizing. It's not a fun place to be, especially as a child!

Don't shrug it off. Let them know you sympathize, and you care. But they're a person just like you. Don't treat them any different.

coconut_water12 karma

I don't have a question, but as someone who previously worked as an Investigator with CPS and who currently works with a non-profit aimed at advocating for foster youth, I am happy to see that you have seen so much success upon aging out of care.

Much luck to you in your future endeavors!

dylson12910 karma

Thank you!!!!

Much love! Sending positive energy your way!

Canbot12 karma

Do you plan on being a foster parent?

dylson12921 karma

It's probably in the cards. Any way I can help. It also depends on where I'm currently in life. If I'm settled down, then yes. I'd love nothing more.

Fully_Torqued_Pecker12 karma

Did you put up a fight when you were with the good family and heard that your birth parents wanted you back?

dylson12920 karma

I was 7, nearly 8. I wanted nothing more than to go back to my parents, at that age. :(

goatcoat11 karma

Several students at my school are in foster care. What should I know to provide the best educational experience for them?

dylson12918 karma

Show them care. Let them know you're there. That's what they need. Being treated different could mess them up even more. They're normal kids, just with no real family.

Bacon_Matzah11 karma

My mother looks after foster kids, so I have seen what shitty parents can do to a child. and after seeing the effect some of those kids have had on her and our family it's clear to me that I will never ever foster. My question is do you think you have had any negative effects on the families that fostered you?

dylson12917 karma

To foster a child, it takes considerable amounts of consideration.

Pros and Cons are soooo important.

I'm sure I've left my mark. Probably nothing too noticeable though.

Bacon_Matzah2 karma


dylson1293 karma

Don't thank me!

Just help where you can. :)

Incendiuous11 karma

I volunteer in my offtime with a local nonprofit dedicated to helping foster kids/families (my specific specialty is the kids' night out nights they hold once a month, a place for parents to drop their (bio/foster/adopted) kids off to enjoy a night to themselves: and the kids themselves are looked after, fed, entertained.

I can't say I have a specific question, I really don't - other than learning more about the entire process/experience of being a foster child (Me and my gf of 4 years (and hopefully soon to be fiancee.... >.<)) have discussed our future, and as of now, plan on fostering, since we've heard so many horror stories. Advice? Thoughts?

dylson12915 karma

My advice: Just go with it. These kids need you. They need caring, loving people who give a damn. Most people they deal with don't. It's discouraging. Be the change. Be their heroes.

Much love!

kisseswookies11 karma

My best friend was a foster kid, and is one of the few to graduate college. I've never met a stronger person than her. She actively works to improve the lives of people less fortunate than her.

I've talked to my husband about being foster parents, and he's reluctantly agreed to it because of negative experiences with foster siblings.

Would you have any advice for an apprehensive foster parent?

dylson12913 karma

My advice: Be loving. Be who you're meant to be.

We're all here to help. I think too many people forget that. The universe wants us to be happy. It's up to us, to allow it.

Rashkolnikov9 karma

How do you see relationships and children now? Would you want children of your own someday or are you a bit apprehensive?

Also good job on everything you've achieved up to now, a year older than me and a few years more succesfull, stay awesome OP!

dylson12919 karma

I'd love to adopt one day.

I'd just rather do it when my life's more stable, and I don't have to worry anymore. :)


Dongo6667 karma

Do you know what became of your father? did he do prison time? Do you have contact with him? how about your mother?

dylson12917 karma

He's still around. He's got emphysema. I can't say I have any pity for him.

sterlingarcher00693 karma

There are certain things I'm not comfortable talking about. I'm new at this.

If you're willing to talk about your worst beating, I'd hate to imagine what you wouldn't talk about.

Anyways, what do you do in your spare time? What's your major? Are you happy that you don't live in Detroit?

dylson1299 karma

I enjoy video games, haha. I'm majoring in Political Science, and Organisational Leadership.

Maybe one day things can get much better. Here's to hoping.

sterlingarcher00691 karma

What are you playing right now? Are we ever going to see a 3rd party win the presidency?

Considering what you started with and what you've been through, things must be alright. Keep doing what you're doing and you'll do fine.

dylson1298 karma

Funny story.. I don't have any gaming consoles, and my computer doesn't have the capabilities to play any games. Maybe I'll get a system when I have more money, ahha. Remember: It's me against the world.

Smugjester3 karma

Did your father ever try to hit you when you became an adult? if so, did you fight back?

dylson1297 karma

He attacked my brother, and my brother kicked his ass.

I'm not big enough to go at him. :(

Mindfreek4542 karma

Hey Dylson, thanks for doing this AMA. Have you ever read the book "They Cage the Animals at Night"? As I was reading your post, it kept reminding me of the book. I grew up in Cleveland too and was assigned to read it in high school so I thought maybe you've read it. I would like your opinion as it was one of my favorite books.

dylson1292 karma

I'll give it a read! Thank you!!!!

Lather2 karma

Do you love your biological parents?

dylson1298 karma

They're my parents. That's it.

If I had a choice, they'd be out of my life. But I try not to be too awful to them, as they're human beings.

Positive energy needs spreading.

Why be negative? Too many people are being negative for you. :(

MichoRexo2 karma

I have only only one question regarding your time in foster care. Did you ever get to experience being the only person of your race in a household? I lived through this myself when I was in the system in 2009. It was a short stint for me between the time of leaving my parent's house and then transitioning into my grandmother's care. Not the best memories, but, I wouldn't change them because of the lessons they brought.

dylson1293 karma

I ended up graduating from a 98% African American school.

I wouldn't change a thing.

Corruptionss2 karma

If you could go back in time and convince your parents to get an abortion, then would you do it?

Edit, this question is not meant to be offensive. You have an interesting perspective on life and I am interested in your answer

dylson1293 karma

Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. I wouldn't.

I like what I do. Helping people overcome a terrible hand in life.

It gives me hope and happiness doing what I do.

BZ_Cryers1 karma

Take out loans and go to college.

dylson1292 karma

I already did. I'm in college full time.