Foster Care Stories
Foster Care Stories
This is an incredible story about a young woman who has greatly benefited from our foster care program. Take a look at Ann's story!
To read real stories of real people who have been impacted through our foster care programs and services. Click on their names to read how foster care is making a difference in their lives.
Hi, my name is Brittany and this is my story:
Growing up, I felt like I had the perfect family. I had a mother and a father and two brothers. I loved every aspect of my family, especially because most the kids I knew had only one parent.
All of that changed when I was 12 years old. My father died unexpectedly and my mother went into a tailspin of drug addiction not long after. Everything fell apart—our house was foreclosed, my older brother went into the Navy and my baby brother and I were placed in foster care. I asked myself, “Can it get any worse than this?” So I decided to look forward, not back.
I did well in my foster home. I played three sports and was on the Student Council and Glee Club. I even mentored and tutored other students who were struggling.
Yet I felt like a lost soul. I believed in a higher power, but didn’t know where to find it. I didn’t understand why bad things happened in my life. Then I was invited to open gym night at Kuyper College. Not long after, I enrolled.
While I started college for the love of basketball, I soon had more important priorities. My friends and professors have taught me about a living faith and convinced me that I am a child of God.
Hi, my name is Sara, and this is my story:
My mother died when I was 4 years old. After she died, my father struggled with alcohol and drug problems and I was placed in a foster home when I was 12 years old. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
But back then, I resisted the structure of my foster home, determined to live the way I had always lived. My foster mother Pam had other ideas. She had been a foster mother for 25 years and she wasn’t going to change.
Pam hung in there with me—expecting me to do well in school and participate in sports. She told me that I needed to see something through from beginning to end. You see, she believed in me. Even though I fought her rules and high expectations, in the end it paid off. I did very well in school and I was a star on the track team.
I now have a career in modeling. I have worked in 20 different countries around the world. One of my favorite modeling jobs was for a charity fashion show for Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. I have an exciting career and a great life—one that I could never have imagined when I was that 12 year old girl moving into a new home.
By age ten, Jon had already learned that grown-ups aren’t to be trusted. First, his mother abandoned him, then, he was adopted by a couple who believed strict discipline was what active boys need most.
By the seventh grade, Jon was chaffing under his parents’ rules and began fighting at school. One day, Jon's anger and frustration boiled over and he injured a classmate. A juvenile judge sent him to a detention program for a year. When he completed the program, he learned his parents had terminated the adoption.
Deeply disappointed and with nowhere else to go, Jon was referred to the Parent Therapist (PT) Program at D.A. Blodgett - St. John’s. “We offer extra training for foster parents willing to provide homes for troubled youngsters,” says Program Manager, Mary Jo Sabaitis.
PT foster parents are trained to communicate effectively, provide discipline, and handle behavioral emergencies. Social work therapists assigned to each family provide counseling and support. Foster children in the PT program, who range from age six to seventeen, have access to free medical, dental, and psychiatric care.
Jon clearly qualified as “troubled.” “When we first saw him, he was really an angry kid,” recalls Sabaitis. “But when one of our veteran PT couples heard about his broken adoption, they wanted to give him another chance.” Jon soon became part of their big, active household of two—now three—foster teens.
But, even with their training and experience, Jon's foster parents and teachers found him a challenging child. Jon spent much of ninth grade in the school’s suspension room. With his parent’s encouragement, Jon tried out for the junior varsity basketball team the next year. His foster parents came to every game, even when he sat on the bench. Jon enjoyed this new attention, and with time, basketball became more than a hobby—it was his salvation. In his junior and senior years, Jon began studying harder, thinking about college, and became a starter on the varsity squad.
“Like a lot of teens, Jon discovered himself when he found his passion,” Sabaitis says. “He developed his talents, social skills, and his need to succeed. I give the credit to two special parents who were very literally ‘there for him’-- in the stands for every game. In their home, Jon has made remarkable progress.”
Now seventeen, Jon realizes his life could have been different. “He is really appreciative of his foster parents and the opportunities they have given him,” Sabaitis says. “Jon had a lot of strikes against him, but today he’s getting ready for college. He blossomed in the Parent Therapist program—which is just what it was designed to do.”