Imagine it is your 12th birthday but instead of presents, a homemade cake, and a day of love you are greeted with trash bags to put your few but treasured items in. This is Michael’s story. A bright-eyed 12-year-old boy who loved Pokémon and Legos arrived on the Spero campus with a story that would break the heart of any seasoned social worker. Michael lived with us for over 5 years. He struggled with PTSD from the trauma that was forced upon him by the people who were supposed to love him most–his parents. He struggled to make friends and he continually destroyed things. He never hurt anyone instead, he chose to take his aggression out on the things in his room. His door was constantly being replaced because it was most frequently the target of his aggression. The hope for Michael was that eventually, he could step down after treatment in residential care to a foster home. He met with foster parents many times but after reading of his trauma and aggression, he was never the right fit for a family. It was a few months before Michael’s 18th birthday. He had made progress in therapy and had fewer outbursts of aggression. He had given up all hope on a Foster placement and instead was preparing to move to a Transitional Living Program. That was until John, an older gentleman with salt-and-pepper hair, glasses and a limp in his stride pulled up to campus. He and his wife were new foster parents. When he met with the treatment team he asked to meet the child who had been here the longest. He knew from his time growing up in a group home in the 60’s that there was one child who was always left behind. He met with Michael and watched as he played Legos and attempted to seem interested when Michael explained every Pokémon card he owned. After an hour together it was decided Michael would have a new home and family! Visits took place over the course of a few months and a relationship blossomed. Michael moved just before his 18th birthday. Foster parents like John and his wife are not just a need, they are a necessity. Two people made a decision to become foster parents and changed the trajectory of a young man’s life forever. They gave Micheal hope in a world that he thought had forgotten about him and in that, they healed him.
May is National Foster Care Month-A Story of Hope & Healing
by Ranee Kujawa | May 8, 2023 | Spero Foster Care