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November is National Adoption Month

Hear My Voice!

Permanency and adoption stories, directly from us



We are the teens of the child welfare system, and we each have a story to tell.

For some of us, foster care has been our entire life, but in just a few years we may be aging out. The conversation of what's next will be key to us living a stable life-and we want to be included in those conversations!

This month we are raising our voices to share stories from our time in care. Although it's not always easy for us to talk about our experiences, we realize they help shape our permanency decisions. We've also learned that staying silent during these decisions can be much worse.

Hear Youth Voices

Are You Listening?

We are the experts of our lives, and we know what we want and need for our futures. We want to share our experiences to help shine a light on areas where we think engagement and the system can improve.

  • Catherine Monet, shares things she learned over timeafter being adopted at age 21. "I think that one way to build this necessary trust is to invite youth to the table. Involve us in decision-making."
  • When legal permanency wasn't achieved, Lil' Crystal Dernier determined what permanency beyond a home looked like for her. "These factors all helped me grow in finding permanency in an unconventional way and developing positive self-efficacy."
  • Finding normal after moving into the eighth foster home at age 15, Annemarie was scared just how long she'd be welcome in her new home. But engaging conversations lead her to "feel comfortable enough to come to them and talk to them about problems."
  • After spending 19 of her 25 years of life in foster care, Shay House became a child welfare advocate and believes People with First-Hand Experience Should be at the Forefront of Policy Reform. "I firmly believe that true expertise lies within one's own experience."
  • After her nine siblings were separated into different foster homes and prevented from maintaining family relationships, Aleks was lead on a path away from-and back to-her siblings. "I suffer from individual and shared pain of guilt as I pursue my own life because many of my siblings are unable to do the same."


We'd love for you to share our stories with professionals, other teens in foster care, and prospective adoptive families to draw attention to the importance of conversations and engaging with us.


To read more:  https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption/nam/youthvoices/?utm_campaign=nam21&utm_medium=email&utm_source=hearmyvoice110421 


Child Welfare Information Gateway

US Department of Health and Human Service