Creating a feeling of safety
Essays from Youth in Foster Care

In last issue’s writing contest we asked young people in foster care, “We all have times when, even though we are physically safe, we don’t feel safe. When this happens to you, what are some of the things that help you create a feeling of safety?” Here’s what they had to say.

First Place

Things that help me feel safe are reading, praying, and playing with toys. I read to help clear my mind from negative thoughts. Every night I pray so that I don’t have bad dreams because they scare me. When I feel anxious, I build with my Legos. When I don’t feel safe, I like to be around people so that I am not alone. Also, I like to talk to my older brother when I am upset. I worry a lot about my baby brother getting hurt. I try to make sure that he stays safe by checking on him and making sure that he is OK. If I’m thinking that something bad could happen, I remind myself that it probably won’t happen. I go to my mom and dad for comfort and they tell me that everything is going to be OK.

Ethan (age 13) received $100 for taking top prize in the writing contest.

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Second Place

In the past, there were times when I was not safe. Right now, I know that I am safe but when I don’t feel that I am, some things I do are draw and write little poems about my feelings.

The thing that helps me the most is listening to music. Music relaxes me and makes me feel calm when I feel like things are out of control. The right song at the right moment can really bring you in. Sometimes I feel like everything is falling apart but then when I find the right song I get pulled back in and it calms me. Music is definitely something that I cannot live without.

My favorite genre is country. I have always listened to country. My biological dad always listened to country and when I listen to it, I think of all the good times I had with him.

Makayla (age 13) received $50 for taking second prize in the writing contest.

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Third Place

When I am scared, I always go to God first because God will always be with me. I ask Him to comfort me and to comfort all of the people who need it. People can go through really hard times just like me. So sometimes when I’m thinking about what the people in my life have done to me, I get scared that they’re going to come hurt me. When I’m worried about that, I talk to my foster parents, and they are really good about comforting me. (You can go to them about anything and not just your past.) If you have a notebook or anything you can write in, you can write down why you’re scared. That always helps me! When you are done you can save it for you and your therapist to talk about if you want. I just want to let you know, you DO NOT have to do any of these things, but they really help me!

Demi (age 12) received $25 for taking third prize in the writing contest.

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What Helps Me Feel Safe

A lot of things help me feel safe. I always feel safe when my mommy and daddy are with me because they protect me. Reading helps me forget when I am alone in my room. I like snuggling with my blanket to help me calm down and use it to wipe my tears. I remember that God is always with me and sometimes I pray. — Chloe, age 7

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At night I get real scared. Tap, tap, tap. Creak, creak, creak. BANG, BANG, BANG. These are the noises that go on inside my head. My heart pounds. I start to sweat. I feel a little cry inside. Then I pull the blankets over my head and I calm down and I pray to God. I say, “Dear God, thank you for this day and everything you’ve given us. Please, Lord, be with all the prayer requests and the homeless. But please, Lord, keep our friends, family, us, and all the animals safe Lord, please.” That is what I do when I am scared in my bed.
— Hayley, age 11

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When I came to my new home at 9 years old I was scared because I did not know my foster parents. I was scared to call them mom and dad because I was scared that my old parents were going to be mad at me. But my new mom and dad told me that I was going to be adopted. And then some of the bad thoughts of them trying to find me or them trying to get me went away, and when I slept I had better thoughts.

Now I feel so safe at my new home that I can go anywhere and I don’t have to worry about them trying to find me. When I don’t feel safe I tell my parents and they help me.

Now I’m 12 and I think about all the good things that my new parents have done for me. I love my new home and parents! — Dalton, age 12

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The young people above received $20 for having their essays published.

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Curious about Our Next Writing Contest?

Click here.