Former Foster Child Shares Children's Home Experience
 
Posted: December 9, 2015
By ELLYSA GONZALEZ, A-J MEDIA
Reprinted Courtesy of Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
 
Misti Adams was 3 years old the first time she and her siblings got a taste of the system.
“I’m the youngest of five,” she said. “My mom kind of abandoned us. My biological dad had all five of us. He signed away his rights and asked that the state not reward us back to my mom if he gave us up.”
 
The kids were in foster care for two or three years before their mother won back her parental rights.
 
But it still wasn’t an ideal living situation.  Adams’ mother was married several times and each child had a different father, she said. Her husband at the time she won her children back molested Adams and her brother, forcing the siblings back into foster care.
 
“She tried to fight for her rights for two months and gave up,” Adams said. “On the month of my ninth birthday, she gave up her rights.”
 
That’s one of the early memories Adams has of her experience with The Children’s Home of Lubbock.
 
Going from familiarity to a new place with new faces and new rules was a scary challenge for Adams. There are “well over 100 kids” within The Children’s Home of Lubbock foster care program with similar stories, said Mary Lauren Taylor, child-placing program director at The Children’s Home.
 
Most kids go through a “honeymoon” phase for the first two weeks, she said.
“They don’t know what to expect or they’re really angry about being pulled,” she explained.
 
Most kids are placed in foster care as a result of neglect.  Upon arrival, the child is placed in an emergency shelter, like Adams was.  She and her siblings arrived at the emergency shelter of The Children’s Home of Lubbock at night.
 
“I couldn’t see any other kids besides my siblings,” she said. “It was really quiet, big and overwhelming.”  During her time there, she moved through four different cottages — each one with a new set of house parents and relief staff.
 
“Looking back, I hated it whenever I lived there,” Adams said.  There were too many rules and a constant stream of new faces.
 
There are several hundred children in Lubbock in need of placement across the South Plains. The Children’s Home of Lubbock can only accept a handful of children for its foster care program, due to a shortage of foster care parents.
 
“There’s a huge need for foster parents,” Taylor said.  House parents and foster parents have to undergo in-depth training on dealing with the children.
 
Adams said several people with The Children’s Home helped her through her 13-year stay.“There’s no telling how many people actually worked with me,” she said. “I know a lot of people worked for a month to six months. It’s a lot to take in mentally and emotionally.”
 
Adams left The Children’s Home of Lubbock and applied for emancipation when she was 17.  She graduated from high school and started college with the intent to earn a degree in early childhood development. She aspires to be a kindergarten teacher.  She put those plans on hold when she had her daughter two and a half years ago.
 
Life is different now.  Adams said her priorities have shifted and she’s matured since she left. She looks back at her time with The Children’s Home in a positive light.  “I’m such an advocate for The Children’s Home,” she said. “Without that, I wouldn’t have had anywhere to go. I wouldn’t have had people to be hard on me, to give me morals to live off of. Now I have my own daughter to raise.”
 
She tries to instill the same morals in her 2-year-old.  “I had people who worked so hard to raise me even though they didn’t have me,” Adams said. “I’m pushing their values on my daughter to be a stronger person. I’m very thankful for everything that was given to me at The Children’s Home. It definitely helped me.”
 
ellysa.gonzalez@lubbockonline.com
(806) 766-8795
Follow Ellysa on Twitter: @AJ_Ellysa
Reprinted courtesy of Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.