Documentary Explores Emancipating From Foster Care System
Some some point, point, older older kids kids in in foster foster care care become unadoptable. There are three factors at play. How the foster care system seize the child, how potential parents see the child and what the child wants in a new documentary called UN Adopted No Elena interviews, kids who were in this position. It's a position that he was in. Not that long ago. In one scene, and I asked his lawyer when his caseworker changed his status to long term foster care. Long term Foster cares with the system cause it when they stop trying to get two adopted Instead, the plan is that your age out of the system this looks like 2007 is when it moved over from a plant of adoption. Think you might have been 11. Yeah, you were 11 at that point. It means I was in Six rained on, says one reason older foster kids don't get adopted is that they come with some baggage really, or perceived its no surprise that every team comes with another teen angst and all of the Joys of being a team. But like also, I think most families don't want like this kid is forever gonna want to know about his biological family or her biological family, you know? And I think it could be a little bit intimidating, or it could seem as if That family is competing. I think most people don't want to find out or they don't possibly want to get hurt. In the documentary. We also meet a teenage girl named Sequoyah, who is incredibly honest about how badly she wants to be adopted. And at one point, she says, something so striking trying to be a part of their family the first few months. Was really hard because I had to figure out how they worked. Spoke. Let their minutes were how to talk to then this's a teenage girl who You would expect to be the one who has moods herself that adults have to get used to. And instead, she's saying I need to get used to their moods. The idea that teenagers view adoptive parents as people they have to impress. There is also something really telling and really sad about that, too. I think for Sequoia. Like so many other foster you there at emotional crossroads and They're confronted with what may be the most important decision of their lives, whether to reunify with their biological family of possible which in her case is not Or opt into extended care. Or the third choice to pursue a forever family. And she is very keen on getting a forever family. She, at one point says she does not even know if her mother is alive. And if she is, Sequoia says, Well, good for her. If she's not. I wouldn't be surprised. Um How frequent isn't for kids in the foster care system to be so alienated from their parents that their attitude is? I don't know if this person is alive or dead. I don't want them to be dead. But if they are okay. The foster care system definitely does. Desensitize people. You know, in another NPR story I did I mentioned there's like little to no emotion. Kids often mirror their role models. And if you have role models, a k a. The social workers and judges, lawyers, etcetera being so gray with them then You know you're going to get the same results. You mentioned this NPR story that you did, for all things considered a few years ago, an award winning story in which you tape part of your own courtroom hearing and the thing that stood out to me. Maybe because my name is Noel is that the judge who had dealt with your case for a while called, you know. And you corrected her and said, Actually, it's no well and then you note. The frustration of my fate is in this judge's hands, and she doesn't even know how to pronounce my name or has forgotten how to pronounce me. Yeah, um I thought that was so shocking because she's been on my case for so long, you know, and she has My brother on her caseload as well. So my name you know, would bleed into his case file. So for something so simple as a name. Is really bad. And Ms Schwartz, if you're listening, I think we should have a sit down, talk and reflect from that because I think simple things like that can get corrected and they should be. There seems to be a push. To instead of taking Children away from their parents and putting them in foster care to leave them with their parents if they're not in immediate danger and helped the parents improve. You at the end of the documentary make clear that you are in touch with your biological family and seem happy about that. You also have nothing ill or bad to say about the foster family with whom you spent your older years. You're older, teenage years. Do you wish that you had been left with your biological family and that they had gotten support? Or do you think it was the right move to take you out of their care and put you into foster care? I shouldn't be a CZ well off a Zai am and I don't know if that's the survivor's guilt talking. But I've had to endure so much. And I don't You know, Foster care is supposed to be temporary, and it wasn't temporary. I was bouncing home to home. I was in multiple families, and it did take an emotional toll. I'm not going to say that it didn't I just think I had The willpower to, you know, push through and I still don't know. What the answer would be, But I would say, you know, I don't want to say this because I don't want it. Let the system win. Think they won, you know, but I would rather not have gotten adopted or reunify with my biological family because I did that on my own terms. I reunified with my bio family. I accepted my Foster family as my chosen family. But I did that, not the system. So I don't want to say one way or the other and think the system one because they didn't They have a bigger job to do. Noel and Naya. He's the co producer of the new documentary UN Adopted, which is now on the arts YouTube channel.