May is National Foster Care Month, a month set aside to acknowledge foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections. As May draws to a close, we urge our community to renew their commitment to ensuring a bright future for the more than 430,000 children and youth in foster care in the United States.
Locally, PMB recognizes Kinship House as one of the important non-profits advocating for foster children in the Portland Metro area. The agency provides expert outpatient mental health care to upwards of 500 foster children each year. Below is a happy story from a Kinship House client:
Lily’s Story (*)
“I thought I was pretty tough when I first entered foster care at 15. I didn’t like rules, skipped school, stayed out until the early morning, experimented with drugs, and hung out with a rough crowd. My dad had recently remarried and let’s just say that I didn’t get along with my new stepmother. My dad put me in juvenile hall and a judge decided to move me to a foster home for awhile.
That’s when I met Ron and Lisa. They were a young couple without any kids of their own and it seemed like they would be easy to outsmart. As I was adjusting to this new situation, I barely spoke a word to them in the first few days. Since they lived in the boring country, I didn’t see my city friends and I met new friends.
For the first time in a long time, I felt like people actually cared about me. Ron and Lisa let me keep the puppy I brought home one day, even though I know they didn’t want a dog. I still have pictures of myself falling on the bunny slope when they tried to teach me how to ski. After I got used to them we began to have fun, and I started to want to do better in my life.
After a year of living in foster care and working with a counselor at Kinship House, I wanted to try living with my dad again. Although it didn’t work, I’m now 20 years old and actually graduated from high school and have a full-time job. I still call or go back to visit Ron and Lisa as often as possible, and I know that they’re pretty proud of me.”
(Please note: The name and identifying information of the child has been changed to preserve their privacy.)
Located in the Irvington Neighborhood, Kinship House offers an assortment of engagement opportunities. To find out how you can get involved in the important work of helping foster children heal, check out https://kinshiphouse.org/be-a-hero.