How Foster Care Can Split Up Siblings — And Result In Very Different Lives For Them

Christina K., Teen Vogue •

In the middle of the night, next to garbage cans overflowing with liquor and beer bottles, my sister and I sat alone in “time-out.” I was five; Ashley, whose name has been changed for this story, was eight. It wasn’t our first time being left alone, so I trusted Ashley to protect me like she always did, and fell asleep. But my big sister couldn’t remove the fear that struck when I was told they were taking us away from our home. Flashing cop lights illuminated the room as our clothes and toys were stuffed into garbage bags. We entered the foster care system.

At first, my sister and I were kept together. But at any moment, we could be — and were — pulled from class, or beds late at night, and brought to a new home or school, placed with a new mother or father. Whenever the news of a move came, we packed our garbage bag and hoped our next home wouldn’t be worse. Being in foster care felt like being thrust into a lottery we could never win.