Foster Children And Orphans Share What It Was Like To Never Be Adopted.

Orphans who didn't get adopted were asked on Reddit: "What happened and how is life now?" These are some of the best answers.

1/20 Both my parents committed suicide: my mother when I was 5, which put me in foster care, and my father later in life, when I was already a big part of the system.

My sister and I bounced around a lot, my sister a lot more than I did - I ended up at 13 different homes, (some I would go back to) she ended up in a lot more. We were both very difficult and would test the foster families after the honeymoon period ended - and eventually it wouldn't work out and we would move on - the longest I stayed in one place was 3 years.

[Eventually] I was caught shop lifting and given community service. Sent to a charity, and became a pretty big part of their fundraising but carried on with life. Eventually got married, and had 2 kids - it didn't work out (after 10 years) - but I'm still doing my hobby from when I left school and work as a Systems Administrator.

Life isn't bad. A lot of things I wish I did better - I struggle with a bit of baggage. I'm not sure how much of that is perceived and how much is real, but I'm doing much better than my sister and I'm a relatively functional member of society. Which is much better than I would have been.


2/20 I was in foster care, but was never adopted. I was taken away from my biological family at a young age, and from then on I only met them by appointment on a weekly basis for about an hour under supervision. I went from home to home being told directly that "you are only here because you make us money" and "if you were my real son, you'd be treated differently." When I would misbehave, my foster parents would threaten to "call the agency" and return me like some sort of defective product. During the summer time, I was sent to camp so they can "get a break from me" and spend alone time with their biological children. It took a mental toll on me and I lived in constant fear. The people I was surrounded with in my foster homes made be believe that anybody that interacted with me wanted to use me and that led me to withdraw from everybody and isolate myself to be on the safe side. I really only felt at "home" when I was in school.

Things are better now, I am working on my PhD and am trying my very best to build healthy relationships with people, but it is extremely hard to open up when I've been hurt so much. When I see stray cats on the street that don't trust me to feed them, I feel I have a deeper understanding of why they act the way they do. My walk of life has taught me that all things are transient, but the best feeling that I've ever felt is love. If you have any children, give them a big hug and tell them you love them, it means more than you would ever know.


3/20 I was in foster care with relatives after my mother died but was never in the system per se. They kicked me out at 18 but I was eligible for a lot of benefits due to being a ward of the state my teen years. My aunt and uncle never officially adopted me.

I struggled through college but I did end up graduating and have a solid job, a home and am getting married in less than 3 months.


4/20 I didn't live in a foster home, I was placed into a group home after me and my brother were removed from our home, so I don't know if I would be counted as an 'orphan' but I will share anyway.

I was removed when I was 17, but I have been in state custody a few times. I lived in a Georgia, and since I was so close to out growing the system they offered me an independent living program where DFCs would help me get an apartment and a job, but I was placed back at my house right before I turned 18.

I have been on my own since I have been 18 (April); I had no job, just kicked out of my home, and no ID (and no license) and the first thing DFCs did when I called them was meet me face to face and tell me I was no longer in the system but to call them if I needed anything else. While I was still in custody I was college bound and the most DFCs did for me was financially hinder me to the point that I might not be able to attend college this fall. After filling out my fafsa for college I was awarded the fullest support possible by the state, but when I was audited for my fall semester they wanted alot of papers from the IRS and DFCs but the IRS won't respond to my faxs, calls, or even online. DFCs is even worse; I had almost 5 different case workers while in the system and now everytime I call DFCs about help with my audit they don't pick up my calls, no representative will help me, and basically have cut off all support and contact.

So now I have no way to get a loan for school because I have no family, no way to get a job because I start school soon and getting a job now would mean I can't go to school this semester, and my only way of going to college is either DFCs help me with the audit or I win the lottery and pay for my first semester out of pocket.


5/20 I wasn't an orphan in the sense that my parents were dead, but neither were capable of caring for me. At age 13 I was forcibly removed from my mom's care (she lost physical and legal custody of me and my siblings) and I was placed with family. My grandparents had "temporary custody" of me until my mom was fit to be a parent again; problem was, she never got her act together, so I remained a ward of the state with legal guardians until I graduated high school.

I wish I was put in foster care with strangers. Then, at least, the neglect I experienced would be more understandable. The way I see it, it must be easier to treat strangers poorly than your own flesh and blood. If I was living with strangers, I wouldn't have taken it all so personally. It's been about 13 years since my family was split by the courts, and in this time I managed to graduate from high school and college, have a few relationships (albeit failed ones), I have a kid who is pretty awesome, and 8 years of therapy to show that I've made some positive progress emotionally.

I ultimately hope to work with families who are impacted by addiction and mental health (which is what split my family) to connect them with resources and built emotional/psychiatric resiliency to cope with these problems. I believe I've stopped the cycle of abuse in my family. I want to help others stop the cycle too.


6/20 I was never adopted. And ultimately I go through life feeling unloved no matter who is around. I believe nobody will ever love me. Emotionally I'm all messed up. But professionally I'm doing well and physically I look good so...


7/20 I was effectively raised in a big facility for kids they didn't have room for. These days I'm mostly upset about what it did to the continuity of my education.

My past ruined my future. And the only girl I've ever loved doesn't want me, because I'm a mess, and it just kinda kills me every day to know I'm so disposable. An auxiliary person. I think because I've never had a stable family or been accepted anywhere I put a lot more value in human relationships than other people? And time after time I've learned I'm not worth it to the rest of the world.

It's weird because I've always been reasonably intelligent, and done well in school- so all the things most people really value have come easy to me. I'm working on grad school/will get a doctorate. I play the bass guitar. I've traveled a bit. But all I ever wanted was to love and be loved, and it just feels... impossible. All I want is something everyone else just seems to have. I still watch everyone go to their parent's houses for Christmas and Thanksgiving and I've got nowhere to go. I've graduated college with no one there to cheer me on. I'm just getting tired of exerting myself when, truthfully, no one really cares.

When I was being hurt growing up I always felt like it was something to rise against. I always knew I could forge a future for myself with education, get a good job, and love someone in a way no one's loved me. These days, though (at 30)... I just feel like I missed the boat, and I'm tired of the miserable world I live in.


8/20 I went into foster care when I was 13 and eventually aged out. I was in about 12 homes between the ages of 13-16. It's not easy to place a teenage girl. I'm white and 10 out of my 12 families were Black.

My state (I'm not sure if this is something that is done everywhere) had an annual "Foster Child of the Year" award. You get nominated by social workers and foster parents. When I was 16, I was nominated and won. Got to go to a big banquet, met Stedman Graham, was given $1000. Anyways, after I won that, I was placed with a very nice family who I stayed with until I was 18. Always thought they would adopt me, but they never did. I'm 28 now and I don't talk to any of them anymore.

Now, I own my own business. I'm getting married in 2 weeks. I made my own family out of friends who I celebrate holidays with. Sometimes I feel left out when people are talking about their childhood and the things they did growing up. I've had rough patches, I get lonely. It'd be easy to get bitter. But I know how much life can truly suck, and I'm grateful for everyday it doesn't.


9/20 Complete emotional wreck, I try to bury any sort of feelings I have as anytime I open up to someone they end up leaving. Couldn't get post secondary education as I had to work full time to pay for rent. I keep trying though, began courses on three separate occasions but just spiral into depression when I'm working a [terrible] job to pay for school I feel I'm just going to fail at anyway or that it's just a huge mistake. I've lived in almost thirty different places, nowhere has felt home. I seriously feel lost.


10/20 This is so weird for me to talk about because I've never really thought before about the fact that legally I don't have a family. My parents were not stable enough to raise me, so I was sent around to different relatives until my aunt and uncle decided to take in me and my sister. But they never actually decided to adopt me, and I'm not sure why.

Anyways, I ended up being [neglected] in that home too, not to mention the fact that we would make frequent trips to visit my biological parents where even more [stuff] would happen. It's taken me years in therapy to realize how [messed] up my family really is, and my entire life I've felt like it was my responsibility to just deal with and not be a burden to anyone else by showing emotion. My biological parents both ended up passing away after I went off to college, so I guess I really am an orphan.

I am still close to my aunt and my sister, and I talk to one of my brothers sometimes. But I feel like none of them have ever really understood what's going on in my life, and for some reason I'd like to keep it that way. Anyways I'm just thankful that I'm able to afford college and that I'm alive.


11/20 I was out in the system at 10 years old when my dad killed my mom and then himself in front of me. At 18 I was free and decided to help other like me. I am now a social worker for abused children and thank the lord for everyday that I am I breathing.


12/20 I never got adopted, but the state surrendered me back to my parents right before high school. That was about 7 years ago. All of my observations are from the Texas foster care system, but they should generally be indicative of the systems across the country. Federally, they're supposed to be organized similarly.

The system is tough in some place, absolutely lovely in others. I had a good experience in the foster care system(FCS), but some kids don't. Generally, we all just knew that anyone who made it past about 8 without getting adopted was pretty strongly not likely to get adopted. A lot of kids get to be a bit bitter and angry that they never get adopted, and that absolutely kills their likelihood to get adopted. There's also a fair amount of racism amongst the middle-school and older kids at bigger group homes where the parents don't work to make it feel like a family, but it seems to generally be against the white kids, who are a minority in the foster care system. You can always tell which parents really love being foster parents and which are either burnt out or don't really love it. The ones who love raising kids always keep their homes disciplined, and they really will make you realize how lucky you are to have them. Just like the good teachers in school, good foster parents in the circuit have a good reputation.

I can't speak for other states, but Texas has a good system.


13/20 I wasn't an orphan, I aged out of foster care so I felt like an orphan lots of time. When it happened I went through this great period of depression because I was in foster care since three and I had not been adopted. So I ended up aging out and at the time I had the choice to return to the family I genuinely didn't believe ever wanted me or sleep on couches until I got on my own. Because I had such a great relationship with my foster family I thought I would be able to stay longer and get myself more together but that's illegal, or for whatever reason I had to leave on my 18th birthday anyway.

When it happened I stayed with friends until I could graduate and I got a job at a preschool. I had a lot of self-pity towards myself and ridiculous thought processes which kept me in the same miserable place for at least two years but then I was blessed to be surrounded by people who helped me out of the spot I was in and got me a job, I was able to get myself an apartment and I am back at school.

Life is okay now, I still don't see my biological mother and I don't see my dad often at all. One of my sister aged out also and six were adopted out of foster care, one in Alabama and five here in Washington. I haven't met the ones in Washington but my sister came for the very first time in march and I got to see her and meet her. She was adopted and doing great and I think I'm doing okay now, too. I still have those moments of feeling unloved and discouragement and my brother still is in and out of foster care and now I'm trying to help make sure he never feels like I did. I don't know how to place a picture but I would loved to have shared meeting my sister from Alabama. That really was great, we were separated at age three when we were first placed into foster care. :)


14/20 I was taken in by relatives, but never legally adopted. They raised me fine, and the only real issue is that I didn't have insurance between the ages of 18 (when I was dropped from their plan for being an adult) and 24 (when I had to purchase insurance for the ACA). If I was legally theirs, I could stay on their plan for another 2 years.


15/20 I am not an orphan but most wards of the state are not. I have a mother but she was a crack [addict] and did not raise me. I was put into the system and was never placed in a foster home, I lived in a group home. A group home is basically like an orphanage you see in movies. A bunch of kids living in a building with a person hired by the state to watch over them.

In my home kids were coming and going constantly, either to be placed in a foster home or to be sent back to their parents. Many if not most of the kids were there because their parents went to prison and they had no relatives willing to take them in. There are not nearly enough foster homes for all the kids, and definitely not enough for boys. Many foster parents will only take in girls so there were not a lot of long term girls in the group home, but tons of unwanted boys.

I eventually graduated high school and was about to age out(turn 18 and get removed from the system). I signed up for the military as it seemed my only prospect. I served a few years and spent the better part of my late teens and early 20's in Iraq desert. I left the military and moved to NYC (half the country away from where I grew up and not knowing anyone) using my GI bill to go to college and get a degree. Then I got a job for a financial company doing stock market related stuff and live in an apartment and browse Reddit.


16/20 I was in foster care, but I was never adopted. My first foster parents never legally adopted me, but we call each other family. They never were emotional and I constantly live in fear of being disowned if I don't finish college or maintain a Catholic lifestyle. Both motivating and depressing.


17/20 So I was never adopted. Grew up in 4 different gov homes and then was going to be kicked when I turned 18. I was in school and the military was always showing up doing those recruiting booths. I joined the Air Force and have been in 19 years now. Found my own family and really proved the phrase "blood doesn't make family". I have been to 7 continents and over 2 dozen countries. I have to tell you retirement is scarier than those days as a kid....


18/20 I'm surviving. Not technically an orphan but grew up in foster care. I have no family but my baby sister who is now an adult and is surviving as well. I've always been like her mom, so we do holidays and things together with the SO's we have at the time. Life is hard, especially when you have no one to turn to for help. Friends make it better but I don't have any super close ones except 1. My mom is still around but not really as a mom in the sense of wanting to take care of us. Things could be worse, and as I type this I look around to all of my fur babies and see all the things I own and I feel grateful for what I have. If I know anything it's that my life won't always be this way and things always get better.


19/20 I grew up in state care from about age 9 to 17. I lost my father when I was about six years old to suicide and I don't remember him much. My mom sort of went downhill from there - drugs, bad boyfriends the whole nine yards.

I went into state care and started my extended stay with the state. I bounced between about 12 different homes before getting myself stuck in a dreaded group home for "at risk" youth. I quickly [pulled myself] together and applied to a "private" foster care program called Casey Family Programs. I finally got a shot at a little normalcy before aging out of the system.

I now work as a software engineer and am doing pretty well all things considered. Have a great relationship with my foster/adopted family and even some halfway decent relationship with my birth mother. Today I'm doing good. Unfortunately the little foster kid in the back of my head is always ready for things to fall apart.


20/20 I was raised in foster care from age 7 till I aged out. I lived at a few homes but never found my forever home so to speak. Something unlovable about me I I still call my last foster family family but legally we aren't anything. I really struggled in my twenties with drug and booze. Wasted a lot of years trying to self medicate.

I did get a BA degree in history somehow, quit drinking won't even touch more then a aspirin. I have a real job A retirement account and own my own home. I have two children I adore and make sure they have none of the issues I had. I still have a lot of issues and get depressed because I know if I had the least bit of a normal life I could be so much then what I am now.



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