A Home for the Holidays

If you have raised a daughter (or have been one!), then you know conflicts between mothers and teenage daughters are quite common. As teen girls journey toward adulthood, arguments and defiance are a normal part of asserting their independence. In most healthy mother-daughter relationships, there is compromise and forgiveness, and life goes on. In foster relationships, things can turn out quite differently. An argument between a foster mom and foster teen can result in the teen being kicked out of the home. This happened recently to an FYI youth we will call Sarah.*

Sarah joined FYI in August of 2022. She was 16 years old and had just been placed in her third foster home in only 16 months. She was paired with an Ally and instantly developed a strong connection with her. She came to The Study Place regularly and attended all of FYI’s events. Although she did well in her foster home for about a year, conflicts with her foster mom started to occur. In October, her foster mom abruptly gave the county 14 days notice to find her a new placement.

Desperate to keep Sarah in Santa Clarita and part of the FYI community, our program director contacted several local foster parent support groups to see if anyone could take Sarah into their home. A couple who had previously fostered were moved by Sarah’s story and began expediting the process to renew their license to foster. Meanwhile, with only 14 days to find a placement, Sarah’s social worker had to move her to a temporary foster home in the Antelope Valley. Finally, the couple was approved and Sarah was welcomed into their home and their family. This was the text FYI received from Sarah a few days later: “The other kids here are so kind. I’m really not used to this. Like waking up with pancakes and stuff. It makes me really emotional because it’s so different. In a good way of course but I feel like I see this in a whole different way because I’ve never seen this in real life. To me this is almost like a movie.”

Sarah is now part of a family where she is allowed to express herself without fear of being kicked out of her home. Her foster mom has late-night talks with her and encourages her to share her emotions and work through her trauma. Although Sarah had to change schools again, she is making new friends and working hard to complete her high school diploma.

We are grateful that Sarah will spend this Christmas in a warm, welcoming home. We are reminded of all the foster youth who are spending the holidays with a different family this year and the aged-out youth with no family at all. To all of you who sponsored a holiday wish list, filled a stocking or helped with our holiday party, thank you for making the holidays a little brighter for FYI youth.

*Names changed to protect privacy

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