What helps me when I’m feeling down
Voices from Foster Care

We asked young people in foster care, “When you are feeling down and really struggling, what (or who) helps you feel better?“ Here’s what they had to say.

* * * * *
First Place

Holly, age 18

Whenever I am feeling distraught, I always consult my brother. My brother shares the same blood that flows through my veins. He and I have been in and out of many unfortunate circumstances. My brother has been the only constant in my entire life. He has never abandoned me or neglected me. Both the mistreatment that I have faced and the smiling moments that I have had, I have shared with him. A time that usually has me feeling down is when the people in the foster homes make me feel alienated or neglected. I immediately find comfort in [my brother] because we both typically go through the same experiences and we can relate to one another. . . . I know I can rely on my brother to be there for me.

Holly received $100 for taking top prize in the writing contest.

* * * * *
Second Place

Stephen, age 11

When I get stressed out, I usually go on a bike ride to the pond or draw a picture of anything that comes to mind. And when I was living with my mom, we used to go to the park or to a friend’s house when I was unhappy about something. When I need to clear my mind of past things/or future I meditate. . . .

When something’s on your mind you need to tell someone . . . . If you keep it in it will hurt or put pressure on your heart, and that’s not a good thing to do to your heart. When something hurts your heart, always remember you have a voice [and] you can use it.

Stephen received $50 for taking second prize in the writing contest.

* * * * *
Third Place

Kamira, age 12

When I’m feeling down and really struggling, I have lots of people and ways to make me feel better. . . .

Ms. P. is my counselor at school. I can talk to her about my problems. . . . She makes me feel happy and special when she gives me snacks and treats. She also does school work with me when she pulls me out of class.

Gigi is my foster mom. She helps me when I’m feeling sad. When I first came to her house, it was hard for me to talk, so we wrote in our notebook about how I was feeling and my thoughts. Now we don’t need the notebook because we can talk it out. When I am sad and miss my family, she gives me hugs.

When I am feeling irritated, I go to my room to chill. Music helps me calm down. When I take walks, I clear my mind and it gives me exercise.

When I first came into foster care, I was really nervous and sad and I felt alone. Now I feel loved, supported, and good.

Kamira received $25 for taking third prize in the writing contest.

* * * * *

What Helps Me When I’m Down?

I struggle with being away from my family. The past three years have been a roller coaster, with returning home and then coming back into foster care.

My previous social worker, who was my social worker from the start and recently left DSS, has been there for me through everything. We both still keep in touch. I don’t know what I would have done without her and all the other social workers who have been involved in my case.

My mom has gotten her life together and I will be returning home this summer. My mom has overcome so much and she has never stopped fighting to get me back. My grandad and uncle and his family have been a huge encouragement and we have grown closer.

My previous foster families have been a support system and I keep in touch with most of them when I can.

My current foster family has become part of my family.

My dad and I have reconnected and are building our relationship.

Foster care has been a huge obstacle to overcome, but the people I’ve met and the family I’ve been able to reconnect with has been a positive outcome. Foster care has changed my understanding of different families and has made me realize how grateful I am to have a loving biological family who has overcome addiction to get me back and be a part of my life. — Brittany, age 17

* * * * * *

Certain passages of scripture . . . help me when I’m struggling or down.

The first is Joshua 1:5. It states, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

The second is Psalms 46:1, which states, “God is our refuge and strength, a helper in time of trouble.”

The third is Psalms 28:7, “The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.”

The last one is Isaiah 40:31. It reads, “Those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; and will walk and not faint.”

With these I can have faith and trust in God that He will lift me up and restore me. — Gabby, age 16

These young people received $20 for having their essays published.

* * * *

Curious about Our Next Writing Contest?

Click here.