Surrounded by people.
From the time she was 8-years-old, Ali bounced in and out of foster care. She went to live in a foster care group home before she was placed with her ex-stepfather. Life in a group home was extremely painful for a social, affectionate, young girl like Ali.
Without context, young adults from hard places can seem like strangers to fear instead of people who have suffered. Potential volunteers fear opening themselves up to relationship with a young man or woman who is, on the surface, so different. Take a moment to hear from Ali and then ask yourself, “If this was your story, how would your life be different?”
I went to a group home where it was not very good on me. I have always been one that really enjoys individual attention. I’m a little selfish that way. I need the one-on-one interaction, the hugs.
My mother was a huge hugger. Any time I was upset, she would wrap me in her arms.
Group homes aren’t allowed to do that. They get in trouble for touching so they limit contact.
I didn’t flourish. I actually sank deep into depression (at 9-years-old).
My former foster parents came to visit me. And they saw just how sad I was. It was written all over my face. I wasn’t the bubbly little girl that they used to know.
Ali’s story is part of our series “Who are Orphans, Widows, and Prisoners”. We first shared Ali, Jacquelyn, and Connie’s stories at our events in Tulsa and Oklahoma City in November 2018. But at the time, there wasn’t enough time to dig deeply into their stories. So we are taking that opportunity for the first 9 months of 2019.
In the 20+ years that Stand in the Gap has been serving these populations, we’ve discovered that there are a lot of misconceptions about who these people are and what they need. We are sharing their stories to show that the people we serve are just like us.
Can you imagine how you would have felt to live in a group foster care home?
If we all understood what it really feels like to go without a hug for months on end (as a nine-year-old child), could we possibly have anything but sympathy for Ali and the thousands of other young adults like her?
Learn more about Life Launch
Stand in the Gap’s small group mentorship program for young adults like Ali.