Edit: I recommend sorting by Old or Top if you have a question, in case someone asked something similar and I already answered it. I answer questions by sorting through Old so people that asked a question a while ago don't have to wait any longer.

Edit 2: It's probably the time for this AMA to come to a close, as I looked through a bunch of the questions and found them difficult to answer; due to them being very similar to questions I've answered in extensive detail beforehand. If there's a burning question you'd like answered and you can't find the answer to it already, even after sorting through Old or Top, then know that my messages are always open for questions or comments.

Thank you very much everyone.


Q: What can I do to help?

A: You can donate here: https://www.cafdn.org/ways-to-give/donate-goods-services/

Here too: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/childrens-aid-society-of-toronto/

And here there's a shit ton of ways to give listed here: https://www.cafdn.org/ways-to-give/

Tell them Savvoi sent ya.

If you're in Ontario and want to foster: https://www.torontocas.ca/

That's the main page for the Children's Aid Society of Toronto. You can look into fostering, adoption, or volunteering.

If you're not in Ontario but want to foster:

Search up the fostering/adoption agency in your area/country and look for ways to support.

Q: I'd like to support without paying and without the terrifying responsibility of looking after a child. How?

A: Spread the word to your responsible, emotionally educated friends and coworkers that there are kids in the system who need them!


Can I just lay down some groundwork and preface this by saying that I'm a Reddit newcomer? An r/virgin, if you will? So please mind me if I lack the proper etiquette when it comes to doing one of these; I might need a little handholding.

Proof: https://imgur.com/VKqvBe6 I didn't have paper so I got this used envelope instead sorry lmao.

Representing and advocating for youth aging out of care over CBC radio: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-63-the-current/clip/15827801-ontario-proposing-redesign-young-people-age-care-system I was nervous.

I have issues with being concise so the following text is me attempting to super-oversimplify my life.

My mother had me when she was very young, raised me alone, and her parent was probably the worst. Physical and verbal abuse, narcissism, zero attempt at emotional understanding, etc etc.

All of that trauma, along with living in a very dangerous neighbourhood, created a damaged young girl; and that damaged young girl needed to raise a child.

She developed a habit, later addiction, to drinking. I told my principal; he ended up calling Children's Aid Society of Toronto (basically Toronto's CPS) and they put me in a home with a different parent.

It didn't work in that home so they put me in another.

And then another.

You get the idea.

Since birth, I've been slowly cracking down the science of the parental authoritative figure. (Suitably titled "Assholeology")

My experiences have given me issues with self image, motivation, fear of failure, fear of being a bad person, etc.

I have ADHD, a Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, and mild anxiety. They were all diagnosed less than a year ago and each played a special part in making things hellish.

And now I have to speedrun a healthy human mentality before I start college.

Ask me anything.

Comments: 733 • Responses: 34  • Date: 

OthelloIM841 karma

What advice might you have for parents thinking of fostering a child over 12? Thanks in advance.

savvoi-1657 karma

  1. Patience is an absolute virtue. These kids are damaged and very very afraid.
  2. Show understanding for their situation.
  3. Ask them what they want, ask them what is right for them. Come to a compromise if it doesn't match your rules.
  4. It is okay if it doesn't work. You did your best. Thank you very much. Your efforts are never futile. (Try to not let it get to this point though lmao)

The rest is just shit you'd do if the kid was blood related to you lmfao. That is your child for the time being.

JaySuds422 karma

Adoptive dad of two here.

  1. Get trained an in evidenced based model, like TBRI https://child.tcu.edu/about-us/tbri/

  2. Make sure your relationship with your partner is tight. Any cracks in your relationship will be perceived and exploited by any kiddo in the system.

  3. Read. A lot. Bruce Perry. Body Keeps the Score. Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control.

  4. Understand that the complex, chronic trauma these older kiddos have endured has literally altered their brain structures.

  5. Be prepared to have people give you all sorts of advice. Most people have no idea what it is to parent a kiddo who has endured complex, chronic developmental trauma. Pay no attention to most of the advice.

  6. Learn how to work. the. system. Advocate aggressively and relentlessly for what your kiddo needs and what you need to make the placement successful.

  7. Prepare to be sad when your begin to understand, at a visceral level, just how badly the system is fucked up.

Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss further.

savvoi-57 karma

Thank you very much for all that you've done.

I trust that any child is safe in your home.

Keep doing what you're doing man, they need us.

Ackmiral_Adbar316 karma

Thanks for sharing! I am a Youth Services Librarian. My question: How can someone in my position help someone in your position?

savvoi-694 karma

If you see a little one in a situation similar to mine and you want to be a direct mentor, you gotta let them know that you have their back.

If they're anything like me, they're not going to want it; as I grew with a fear of people and a fear of getting hurt by them.

But if they're anything like me, they're gonna need it.

I wasn't given the opportunity to safely fail as a child. Whenever I did, my mother ridiculed me.

Let them know that it's okay to fail and it's okay to fall behind, as it's literally human nature, and you'll be there to support them with whatever resources you're willing to give.

It will be a hassle, but be patient.

It's like trying to make friends with a stray cat lmfao.

Hopefully this answers your question.

firefly212206 karma

What administrative/governmental challenges unique to being a foster kid in transition to young adulthood have you faced, and what reforms would you suggest to better help foster kids in transition?

Context: in the US, only 38% of foster kids graduate high school, and only 3% graduate college?

For other readers: https://www.togetherwerise.org/ is a great charity that helps foster kids, and foster kids in transition to being young adults. One of the biggest things they do is provide customized luggage to foster kids... many foster kids carry all their stuff around in trash bags, so providing some luggage really is intended to drive home the idea that they, their stuff, and their lives have value. Additionally, TWR takes kids on school shopping trips to buy clothes, shoes, backpacks, and supplies. If you are able to either give or volunteer, it's always greatly appreciated. As always, do your homework and use charity navigator or the site of your choice before giving to any organization.

savvoi-277 karma

I personally dealt with issues from the police, as well as issues getting the motivation to pass classes.

Past experiences built an attitude of righteous indignation. Nobody understood me and it felt as if the people I was living with were directly agreeing with the enemy (the governmental/school system). I lived in a system that didn't fit me, then got yelled at by the people that were supposed to care, which cemented the inner loneliness that was instilled within me.

So I was either like "Fuck this! I'm not going to school! Fuck the system!" and then get in trouble with police OR I was like "Fuck this. I'll do it myself. Time to fix the system." and then fail my classes cuz I had ADHD and didn't know how to study lmfao.

It's kinda funny, because there is help out there. Many amazing people on this very AMA are willing to do what they can to help these kids.

They just can't trust the world, so they either don't know what's out there that can help them, or they're too scared to approach it.

Adults have to be louder about it. Especially teachers. It helped me to know that there were groups that wanted to see me succeed.

I don't know if that answers your question, if not, please reiterate and I'll try again.

Platypushat152 karma

Was there something a person did that was very helpful to you along the way? Or something that was harmful?

I have ADHD and was also diagnosed as an adult. Don’t be afraid to ask for accommodations from your school, such as extra time on assignments. It can really help to even the playing field. Best of luck to you!

savvoi-175 karma

Absolutely. Reassurance from a kind mentor is simultaneously welcoming and not welcoming at the exact same time. I wasn't used to it so it was weird and cringe, but I needed it.

Tell that kid they're gonna be okay. Tell that kid that you got them. Let them know that its okay that they fucked something up. Let them know that you'll still love them.

If they're anything like me, they'll act like they won't like it lmfao. But it's necessary.

Something that was harmful was a lack of healthy communication with the parents, and a lack of understanding from the parents. They didn't feel like someone I could trust with anything, let alone my feelings.

Thank you for the advice and I'll be sure to keep it in mind! I was a little afraid a month or so ago because I had poor executive function. I didn't believe in my ability, and I didn't see college as something fun. I'm better with it now. Thank you friend.

Augusta13102 karma

Hi! Thanks for being open about your experience. I’m currently in the process of become a foster care provider. Any helpful insight you can give in what foster kids want/need in a home to feel safe and supported?

savvoi-260 karma

Everything a regular kid needs but double everything that isn't physical lmao. Double the understanding, double the listening, double the attention, double the patience.

Ask them how they're feeling, ask again if it's a simple one word answer, let them know that it's okay to be sad. Reassure them that if they fuck up, you'll be there for them.

The "love" word might be weird. Best not to use it unless they do.

Good luck and thank you.

basementthought79 karma

I'm sorry that you had to deal with such a terrible upbringing. I have two questions: 1. What are you planning to study in college? 2. What do you think you're fellow Canadians like me can do to help children in foster care or adults who grew up in the system like you?

savvoi-125 karma

  1. I cant pick the specific courses I want to do yet unfortunately! The college I'm going to just got hit with a giant malware attack so I'm super confused if I'm doing things correctly or not lmfao. If it helps, the course/class/whatever that I got accepted to is literally called "Child and Youth Care"
  2. The obvious answer is "be a foster parent" but that could cause grey hairs quickly and nobody is obligated to take care of a child that isn't theirs, so just get the word out! The people at Children's Aid don't need your money, they have a shit ton of it lmfao, so just let your Facebook group or whatever know that there are kids out there that need comfortable homes to live in. More housing opportunities with families that have access to things like therapy and money for sport and recreation is an absolute necessity.

saltoftree68 karma

Can I just lay down some groundwork and preface this by saying that I'm a Reddit newcomer? An r/virgin, if you will? So please mind me if I lack the proper etiquette when it comes to doing one of these; I might need a little handholding.

Just based on the above, you already have better social skills than like...68% of Redditors. You are gonna do just fine.

savvoi-3 karma

Haha thank you friend!

I'm self conscious about that sort of social stuff sometimes so I appreciate the reassurance.

smartmouth31463 karma

I am a high school teacher in the public school system. What can I do to help my students in foster care?

savvoi-101 karma

Keep an eye on their work ethic and their attitude in class. If either look down, check up on them in a way that isn't overwhelming. Tell them you're someone they can talk to.

Offering resources is weird and often won't work, as these kids are chronically lonely and cannot accept help for many reasons. Fear of getting hurt, lack of trust, ego that convinces them that they don't need anybody and can do everything themselves.

So if you're worried that they need something but they don't want it/can't accept it, ask their guardian for the number of the youth's Case Worker. The Case Worker, or just Worker, is given to every child in the system and is basically the bridge that connects the youth with the Child Welfare system. They get shit done.

Make the call and say your worries. If a youth isn't comfortable talking to you after you try assuring them that you're someone safe they can confide in, that's probably the case with their foster parents/guardians as well.

thejudgejustice63 karma

What can the community do better to help the foster system?

What is the one thing you would change?

savvoi-158 karma

  1. The community can tell their emotionally educated adult friends that there are kids in the system that need help! It's kinda like getting a rescue instead of adopting a puppy. (Mind me for comparing kids to dogs but it was the simile that came to my head.)
  2. I would change the amount of resources Children's Aid puts on the sub-systems created within the advocacy that focus on youth who are Black/POC. For example I signed up for a summer trip that's given within the system called Soul Journey. It's described as "finding your roots" and was a 2 week long getaway where a group of 15-30 black youth and a handful of staff members take a trip to some place (Jamaica, Alabama, etc) that is somehow important to our culture and heritage. We then go to many different museums and things of that nature to learn about our people. Soul Journey really helped me in finding my identity and being proud of my skin; it would be amazing if young ones that look like me could feel the same.

The first year that I went, we didn't travel out of Canada or even out of our province. The second year I went, we travelled to another province ( from Ontario to Nova Scotia) and it was lovely, but I couldn't help but feel jealous of the youth who got to go to Jamaica two years beforehand. Soul Journey is losing money.

This isn't something the community can fix without the super loud yelling and complaining from a lot of people. It's more of an inner system issue that can go unnoticed because of the privacy Children's Aid is supposed to hold.

I suppose all I can say is, if anyone reading this decides to donate to things like https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/childrens-aid-society-of-toronto/

Tell them it's for Soul Journey, and say that Savvoi sent you.

In the meantime, I'll do what I can from within the system haha.

cent-stower58 karma

Thank you for the AMA! We're considering becoming foster parents in the USA, but my partner and I are both white and we find it hard to find perspectives and resources on what it means to be a white foster parent and have a foster child who is more often than not a POC. If you're comfortable answering, did you have foster parents who were not black and how were your relationships with them? Was there anything you wish they did differently? Our main goal is to be kind and understanding to a child no matter who they are or their circumstances, but we don't want to fall victim to "white saviorism."

savvoi-94 karma

I get it. The family I currently live with is white.

Not falling victim to white saviorism is easy.

At least from my perspective.

Step 1: Recognize that you're a big idiot when it comes to black people and you know nothing. Don't worry! That was harshly put but it's not personal. It's just because you're white lmfao

When I moved to the place I'm at right now, it was like culture shock. I had to learn the way of the white. We're different. VERY different. And that's okay. It's pretty dope actually.

Step 2: Educate yourself in everything black. Cultural foods, styles and products for kinky/coily hair, systematic racism, why saying the N word is bad, the whole nine yards.

^ Seriously. Put the work in, or just foster a white kid.

Step 3: Encourage the benefit of experiences, but dont overwhelm or hassle.

If they're anything like me, they're afraid of the world. And they don't understand how you could willingly ski, or camp, or swim. Those are all possible places of injury or death. Let them know that doing shit is cool, and teaches them things, but do not force. During your journey with them, while they slowly heal, they'll want to see more of what the world has to offer.

Step 4: Just know that they're gonna do a lot of things differently than you do. Duh. But keep it in mind and be understanding.

Good luck and thank you.

itachiwriting42 karma

Where did you learn to write so well?

Btw you're an inspiration. Keep doing what you do.

savvoi-58 karma

No idea! I memorized big words and then tried my best to get down the syntax and here I am haha. I'm an aspiring writer and this means a lot.

Thank you very much. I appreciate it more than you know.

LuxuryDivine35 karma

What do you believe are necessary resources and conversations for foster children that most/many do not currently have access to?

What could the average person, who may not have any connections to foster care, do to help?

Thanks for doing what you do, and congratulations on college.

savvoi-76 karma

  1. THERAPY. Therapy and the importance of mental health. I was taught at a young age to hate myself. It makes life VERY hard to live, in EVERY aspect.
  2. Donate what you can, spread the word, and prod at your school system to teach the necessary shit to kids.

Thank you friend.

GioVasari12133 karma

What is that one memory of yours that you absolutely cherish?

savvoi-114 karma

Ah man I've got tons.

I'm an aspiring writer of many kinds (comedy, poetry, currently storyboarding 5 part graphic novel series) and whenever someone reads my shit and they're positively affected in any way, my heart grows x10.

I also did improv for about 3-4 years and there is no other feeling like being on stage and making a whole crowd of people laugh.

Finally, any opportunity I have to educate and help people makes me feel a level of fulfillment that I can't fully put into words and type here.

Basically any point that I positively change something. I've decided it's my purpose to do so.

WideConsequence214421 karma

What’s your favorite dinosaur?

savvoi-50 karma

I like them all, but pterodactyls are fuckin SICK

I love birds, they're just giant lizard birds.

ohhhhcanada19 karma

First of all, thanks for doing this AMA! I think you have a unique and powerful story, and it’s an important one to share.

To preface my question, I saw a movie recently where the main character teenager was in a foster home, with very loving foster parents. But she discovered paperwork that showed her foster parents receiving a monthly stipend from the government, and she was devastated to find that her parents were being “paid off” to be her parents.

My question: From your perspective, how does it feel to know that foster parents receive financial aid from the government? In your experience, do some foster parents “do it for the money”?

Personally, I think it is good if the government puts money into social programs. If they can incentivize people to become foster parents, or at least somewhat remove barriers for those who may want to be foster parents, it can change lives. But I’m also horrified at the thought that some parents could see this as a sort of “paycheck”, and foster for the wrong reasons.

Thanks again for your time!

savvoi-24 karma

I was told from the foster mother of my second home that the money given to her to take care of two boys isn't really enough. That doesn't mean too much of anything but this made me remember.

I don't have too much of an issue with that issue, because I've never seen it, and it doesn't sound realistic.

Firstly, a foster parent that decided to foster a child for the amount of money they give you to take care of them would have to be a fucking idiot LMFAO

Imagine taking the responsibility of damaged, scared, frustrated child for some pocket change.

There are things put in place within the system to ensure a child isn't put into a dangerous home. For example, when I wanted to move in with my friend and her parents, they got denied because I wasn't going to sleep on the same floor as the main guardian. It was a safety issue.

And I feel like the only people stupid/desperate enough to do something that drastic for such a low amount of money would be a crack addict or something, and hopefully they don't let kids stay with crack addicts lmfao

It's gross to think about, but I'm not worried.

Thanks for the question, friend.

my_human_opinion18 karma

If you could go back to the moment Toronto’s CPS intervened years ago and could decide their next course of action to support you in the best way possible, what would you propose?

savvoi-48 karma

I am where I need to be.

It took a while, lots of pain, but I needed to get here.

But to answer your question, I would propose that they put me in a home with parents who understood how to communicate healthily, that practice mindfulness, would walk me through a mental health and wellness agenda, and will have my back.

DexterJameson17 karma

How's your mom doing these days? What is your relationship with her like?

savvoi-47 karma

Up and down. I have reason to believe that she inherited a level of narcissism from her mom. She sees me as fiery, truculent, and hardheaded; which is hilarious because that's how I see her.

I love and revere my mother for all that she's done, but she's stunting my growth.

We're cool, but don't talk super super often.

m3talc0re14 karma

Why bring race into it?

savvoi-30 karma

This is a good question, and I understand it.

I felt it was imperative to mention my race because:

  1. I'm proud of it. And there's probably one or two people on here who aren't yet. It took me a while to love that part of myself. Our school system sucks dick and doesn't show me any black people in history class except for Martin Luther King Jr; I had to do research on Malcolm X myself! There weren't any dope black people around me for a really long time; just criminals, dropouts, and my multiple families who I only recognized as people who brought me pain. There were probably awesome black people out there, but all I saw was the filth that the racists categorized us as. I brought up my race because I wanted to show people that I'm black, and I'm cool as fuck.
  2. Being in foster care is a much different thing than being in foster care while black. When you're black, they give you homes that fit your culture so you feel comfortable. Imagine being put in a home where the parents:

- Don't feel the need to express negative emotion, holds everything in.

- Shut down discussions and enforces things instead of talking with their children.

- Don't understand mental health issues like ADHD, depression, anxiety, etc

All of these things are done by black parents age 30-70 because they inherited it from their parents, who inherited it from their parents, and so on and so on, until we go alllllll the way back to the slavery days where black people were told to never show weakness, never complain when in a bad situation, keep working and don't make excuse, etc etc.

tldr: I said it because it's impressive.

Murdoc_The_Best13 karma

Thank you for doing this ama. As a new foster parent, one thing that sticks out to me is the sheer number of appointments that one has to go to during any given week, either with bio parents, therapists, social worker, etc. Do you ever just get to be a kid?

savvoi-21 karma

Not anymore. Not after being in the system.

Which is why it's important to use the resources given from the advocacy to get acceptable recreation for your youth. If they're social, sign them up for peer-based shit like sports clubs or whatever. If they're secluded, just give them time alone. They find a way to be a kid on their own, like they've been doing their whole life.

The more comfortable they grow within themselves, within the world, within your family; the more comfortable they'll be socially.

Good luck and thank you.

edge-hog12 karma

Thank you for sharing! Have you read "Black Boy" by Richard Wright, which is a classic and also a tale that resembles your story in a way (although I don't mean to generalize your experience!). And if yes, what is your opinion on it?

savvoi-32 karma

I haven't! Not much of a reader unless I'm on the internet looking at shit that probably doesn't matter.

You made it sound pretty sick though, I might find it and get back to you like 3 years later when I finally finish it.

If it resembles my story, the main character must be dope as fuck lmfao

Thanks friend.

MrsBonsai17110 karma

Proud of you.

Pineapple on pizza?

savvoi-14 karma

Pineapple on pizza is a yes for me.

There aren’t many foods that I don’t like, so a sweet and savoury combo like that is an easy thumbs up; I never understood the slander!

Thank you friend.

FSMFan_2pt09 karma

Have you ever watched The Wire?

savvoi-10 karma

Nah I haven't. Admittedly I'm garbage at starting and finishing anything, and that includes watching a TV series.

Is it any good? Maybe I'll put some time aside and get a couple episodes in.

Titiantron7 karma

How was your day so far?

savvoi-44 karma

Weird, but very great.

Went to bed very late last night, woke up for work very early this morning.

Took my ADHD medication and got to work. Felt weird, tired but also energetic, nauseous at times due to the lack of sleep and the shit the medication does to me.

Made a reddit account. Saw this. Said "holy shit I should try that would be fuckin sick"

Now I'm here.

With this AMA, it feels as if I helped.

How is your day?

ClearlyNotATurtle7 karma

As a young adult who went through the UK foster system, HELLO! Much respect for speaking so publicly and candidly about these matters. It is not easy.

Question: How have you found time and motivation to continue writing while navigating an excess of life circumstances? It sounds from your other answers that you still find great joy in it. (You communicated your story very succinctly by the way.)

Best of luck with college and everything you do beyond that!

savvoi-3 karma

I had LOTS of time, because I had no motivation to do anything but be on my phone lmfao.

It's just one of my things! With ADHD, I always had the motivation to do the things I was interested in.

Everyone has their things. If they don't yet, then they're not experiencing the world enough.

Harder to find your thing when you're mentally ill but it ends up being one of the big reasons why you keep going.

Thank you, friend.

jabber_OW5 karma

What are some conditions under which someone should absolutely not foster a child? "Dealbreakers" if you will.

savvoi-16 karma

Differs for each parent.

If you hear about a kid's trauma and/or mannerisms and you're like "DAMN. I can't handle that!" Then you can't. Foster another kid.

But an answer for that question that I feel is objective:

If the child infringes on the human rights of anybody else in the house.

Like if your new foster kid comes in and starts consistently sexually assualting people, that kid has gotta go.

If your new foster kid comes in, pulls the hijab off of your other foster kid, and calls her a slur, that kid has gotta go.

You get my point I think.

Emmax19975 karma

I guess this is just a random question and probably not something good to ask, but how are you doing today? I hope your life is better now.

savvoi-4 karma


In a good place, getting therapy, about to move into college in September, afraid but I have high hopes.

Doing lots of self talk, figuring myself out.

Thank you friend.

theonedeisel3 karma

I’m a 29-year old dude, would you want someone as young as me as a foster parent? What were you looking for?

savvoi-17 karma

Yeah you'll do alright. That's a good age because you're not so old that you think you already know everything, despite the world drastically changing like every month.

And you're not too young like early 20s or something.

Get a good source of income, do research on how to take care of a kid, emotionally educate yourself (mindfulness, communication skills, etc), know that it's gonna be hard and prepare yourself; and you'll probably do fine.

I say all this with the assumption that you're just some guy that's completely new to fostering and is like "Huh. That would be cool." lmfao

If you end up doing it, good luck and thank you, friend.

saevuswinds2 karma

What’s a memory you had that made you feel happy from your childhood?

savvoi-5 karma

My old bestfriend has a younger sister who was around 4 or 5 at the time.

She told me that she REALLY wanted me to come to her birthday party.

Her mother pulled me aside and basically said "You've had detention for multiple days straight, I need you to pull through for me and stay focused in class so you're free to come to her birthday party next week."

The look on the little girl's face when I walked through the door on her birthday was enough to brighten my year.