'Foster Care' printed on a legal document with a judge's gavel resting on top.

My Foster Care Story: Surviving a Horrific Adoption

Written by Lily Mae

Foster care stories can be heartwarming, yet sometimes they are tales of resilience and survival.

My life’s journey has been a series of tumultuous waves, starting from my birth and ultimately taking me back into the world of foster care as a teenager. Foster care, they say, is easier on the little ones, but as a teen, it was a different ball game altogether.

The authorities removed me from the care of my biological parents as an infant. I spent time in a few foster homes before being adopted. Most people would think, or at least hope, that this was the beginning of a good story. However, it was the beginning of an adoption horror story.

A photo of Lily as a teenager leaning against a tree while she lived in foster care.

The Echoes of My Childhood

The constant presence of police sirens and the turmoil at my adopted home overshadowed my childhood. I vividly recall Deputy Clay, a figure of authority and safety, arriving in response to abuse calls. 

I remember one time Clay responded to a call. He and another officer showed up after an anonymous caller called my mother in for hitting me and two of my other brothers with the belt.

This was regular behavior for her. The officers took me and my brother into different rooms and asked us our version of what had happened. Scared to say much, we said we had been bad, and our mother had hit us. It was so normal to say we deserved what had happened to us. 

These early encounters with Clay, who later became my foster father, began my journey toward safety and stability.

My Adoption Story: A Harsh Reality

Life with my adoptive parents was far from nurturing. It was a life where my education was neglected, and my role was more of a caregiver than a child. Despite their accolades, our home was a place of hidden suffering—starkly contrasting the facade they presented to the outside world.

They were always bringing new foster kids, most with disabilities and a lot of needs, into the home. I remember my parents won an adoption award. To this day, I don’t know how. I shared a room with my brothers until I was 15 years old; we shared clothes; I dressed like a boy almost my whole life.

My family had a lot of expectations of me. I cooked meals for our family of 11-16 ‌my entire childhood. They forced me to participate in things like Girl Scouts, church groups, and more. I liked getting to be around kids, but my mother was so abusive and manipulative I would have to go to those things with a black eye. Or very strict rules on what I could or couldn’t say and how to act. 

I had chores like doing everyone’s laundry, feeding my brothers every 3 hours through their feeding tubes, and more. My adoptive parents were very religious. One time, my mother told me God told her to abuse us one day, and that’s why she did it. 

The Confusion and Fear of Re-Entering Foster Care

Finally, when I was 15, I was placed in a group home, which would be home for ten months.

When I was a 16-year-old in my group home, a mix of fear and confusion gripped me while sitting with my adopted parents and my new set of foster parents. Why couldn’t I go home, and why was I being sent to someone else’s home? 

The thought of re-entering foster care was daunting. I had seen the challenges faced by other teens and wondered about my fate. Would I be just another troubled teen, unwanted and misunderstood?

I did not know where this new twist in my foster care story would take me, and I was terrified.

A photo of Lily and her foster sister posing as Charlie's Angels.

The Routine of Group Home Life

Life in the group home was structured yet traumatic. The day-to-day wasn’t so bad. It comprised things like: 

  • Specific shower times no longer than 10 minutes before or after breakfast
  • Girls did group chores like kitchen and living room duty
  • Each resident also had 1-2 individual chores
  • At school, after each class, we had papers our teachers had to sign proving we attended class and did not skip

After school, we had ‘round talk’ where we gathered in the living room and talked about the highs and lows of our day. Then, it would be time for individual therapies, dinner, and free time. Each day was pretty similar, and kids would come and go.

However, some things I witnessed there still haunt me today. Like the day I saw a kid smash a window, grab a glass shard, and slice his wrist open. Or when I saw a girl overdose on Comet cleaner. I once saw a couple have sex in the corner, which was clearly against the rules.

A Familiar Face in My New Foster Care Story

Meeting my new foster family brought a wave of relief. Recognizing Deputy Clay, I felt safe. His family, including my new foster sister, welcomed me with open arms. 

I adjusted very well to my new foster siblings, but I had mommy issues.

So, it took some time to warm up and allow my new foster mom in. I was so guarded against accepting another mother figure. Clay was so nice to me. He was the father I needed at the time. He was overprotective in that way, checking my phone and talking to me about the kids I associated with.

Their acceptance and understanding eased my transition into a new chapter of life. Bonding with my foster siblings was fun! I had siblings my age: a new brother and two sisters.

We shared makeup, hair items, clothes, and shoes. We had slumber parties every weekend. My foster brother took me for razor rides and exploring. They all introduced me as their new sister. 

Adapting to my new foster family was a journey filled with learning and growth. I met all the challenges, like bonding with my foster siblings, embracing a new school, and settling into a different lifestyle with resilience. These experiences molded me into the person I am today—a survivor, a fighter, a resilient soul.

A photo of Lily and her foster sister embracing in a field. Depicts a part of foster care story.

Finding Solace in Music

In this new home, the piano became my refuge. Music allowed me to pour out my emotions, crafting melodies that resonated with my soul’s deepest cries. It was more than an instrument—it was my voice in a world where I had felt voiceless.

I wrote a song about being abused and hurt and waiting for the day I would be free. I felt music throughout my whole body, especially the piano tunes. It was healing. I would play for hours and just cry. My fingers played the music from my soul and what I was feeling.

A piano and sheet music.

Reflections From My Foster Care Story

Looking back, I realize that foster care was not just something to endure; it was a defining period of my life. It taught me invaluable lessons and gave me a sense of belonging that I had longed for. My foster care story is not just about survival; it’s about thriving against the odds.

I also realized that family isn’t blood but who is there for you and helps you. This experience gave me an opportunity, even for a short time, to be a part of a family. Make the best of it and learn what you can. The real world is rough, but my foster care story did not break me. 

If someone provides a roof over your head, it may not be ideal, but soak up the good, pray through the bad, and try to find just one person you can reach out to relate to and vent to. 

A Message for the Future

To those living their own foster care stories, know that it doesn’t end here. Each day is a new page, a new opportunity to write a different story—one of hope, strength, and resilience. Your past doesn’t define you; your courage and resilience do.

You can check out our full-length interview with Lily on our YouTube page.

In my foster care story, I found challenges and the power to overcome them. It’s a story of never giving up, finding light in the darkest of times, and of the unbreakable human spirit.

A current photo of the author. She has long black hair. Brown eyes, dark skin, and is wearing a black top.

3 thoughts on “My Foster Care Story: Surviving a Horrific Adoption

    1. Danielle Dahl

      She is an inspiration for sure, and the perfect example of how our past shapes us, but does not define who we are. Thanks for leaving a comment! We hope you check out some of the other amazing stories of resilience, too.


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