+
upworthy

The Horror Stories These Former Foster Care Kids Have Sound Too Bad To Be True. But They're Not.

When children are found in dangerous, abusive, or neglectful situations, we know exactly what to do: Get them out. But what happens next?

For 640,000 kids a year, foster care is what's next. And what happens there isn't always an immediate "happily ever after." Here are four stories of young people who grew up in the system and lived to tell the tale.

Meet James.



"Sometimes the people that are supposed to love you will hurt you as well."

James was put in the foster care system when he was only 1 year old. For the next 18 years, he was in and out of neglectful, abusive homes. Once, when staying with a racist foster father who saw him hanging out with a black friend, he beat James, drug him outside, clasped a dog collar around my neck, and cuffed his hand to a Confederate flag rail in front of the doghouse. He left James outside overnight in the cold of December with no clothes. The next morning, he said, "If I see you hanging with that [N-word] again, you will be out here for a week."

"I grew to realize that my circumstances equipped me with the tools and burning passion to make certain other foster youth do not experience what I did."

Eventually James was connected with a caseworker who changed his life. She took him seriously, listened to him about his placements, and helped him grow. Now he's graduating from the University of Southern California with a master's in ... what else? Social work.

Meet Marcellia.

"People need to know that foster care youth need love and care just like other children."

Marcellia was born to a drug-addicted mother who was unable to properly care for her and her siblings. They were placed in foster care when she was 10 years old, and Marcellia remained in the system until she aged out at 19. During those nine years, she was separated from her biological brothers several times, neglected, and placed in homes with, as she states so simply, "no love."
"One of my worst memories was coming out as a lesbian to my foster mom. ... When I was a high school senior, she said, 'I am not going to pay for a gay prom.' I took a job at a pizza place so I could save up and buy my own prom dress."

Marcellia somehow made it through. She is now a member of the California Youth Connection and advocates for current and former foster youth, working to make a better future for them.

Meet Melissa.

"If the system is a teacher, then she is incredibly cruel."

Melissa entered foster care when she was 2. Over the next traumatic 20 years, she was in and out of homes, back and forth between new placements and her biological family (which she believes should not have been afforded so many chances with her).

"I spent five years with a lady who blew the monthly stipend from DCFS on her own kids while we lowly fosters got to eat maybe once a day, if we were lucky. But she was very generous with the beatings, which often bordered on torture (making us kneel for hours on uncooked rice seemed to be her favorite)."

The one upside? Being on her own qualified Melissa for extensive college financial aid. But she wasn't able to finish. College felt almost impossible without the type of support and stability that most students have in a family. Now an adult, Melissa believes that the only way to reform the system is to create more opportunities for people like her and other survivors of the system in the system.

Meet Michael.

Michael started off in a roach-infested foster home in the housing projects of Queens, NYC. When he complained about the conditions to his social worker, Michael was removed and placed into a new home — with an abusive, alcoholic foster mother. He was 11 years old. Michael's only way of coping was to act out. He was eventually placed in psychiatric care and pumped full of drugs that made him sluggish and drowsy. But it was his way to survive.

"The psychiatric hospital was my escape from the madness. I acted out frequently, threatening to kill myself and doing anything I knew would land me back in the hospital."

Because of his experiences, Michael created Mind the Gap, a website that aims to improve communication around the mental health treatment of children in foster care.

The good news: They are not victims.

All of them have come through the system and landed on the other side, determined to prevent other children from having to walk the same difficult path they were forced to walk.

The bad news: The system is broken.

Nearly 32% of these children will wait over three years before being adopted. Nearly 15,000 children have been waiting for five or more years to be adopted. And at least 25 states do not meet the federal standard for keeping kids safe while in care.

Of course, all stories aren't as heartbreaking as these. There are many wonderful, compassionate parents; smart, competent social workers; and nurtured and loved children within the foster care system. But stories like these and others in Children's Rights' report "Children Unseen" are far too common. Thank God that James, Marcellia, Melissa, and Michael are standing up and speaking out to change that.

Image from YouTube video.

An emotional and strong Matt Diaz.


Matt Diaz has worked extremely hard to lose 270 pounds over the past six years.

But his proudest moment came in March 2015 when he decided to film himself with his shirt off to prove an important point about body positivity and self-love.

Keep ReadingShow less

Get the health benefits of Omega-3 without destroying ocean ecosystems

Calgee Sustainable Vegan Omega-3 is a cleaner, greener alternative to fish oil.

Over the last few decades Omega-3 supplements have become incredibly popular among health-conscious consumers, and it’s not hard to understand why. Omega-3 is a rich source of essential fatty acids, which have been linked to improvements in brain function, inflammation, chronic diseases, and overall wellness.

The only problem with Omega-3 is that most of it is derived from fish oil, and the mass production of fish oil is bad for the environment and your health. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With Calgee Sustainable Vegan Omega-3, you can get all the benefits of Omega-3 without the baggage. This eco-friendly alternative to fish oil is revolutionizing the wellness industry, promising a solution that benefits our planet as much as our health.

Why We Need Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), are superheroes in the world of nutrients, wielding powerful benefits for our brain, heart, and joints. Some researchers believe they play a role in maintaining cognitive functions like memory, focus, and mood, nourishing our mental health.

But that's not all. Omega-3s are heart heroes, too. They're known to reduce inflammation throughout the body, lower blood pressure, and improve cardiovascular health, keeping our hearts pumping strong. For anyone looking to ease joint pain or reduce the risk of heart disease, adding a dose of Omega-3 to the diet is a no-brainer.

The Problem With Fish Oil

Unfortunately, while Omega-3 may be great for you, it’s bad for the planet when made from fish oil. As the industry stands right now, about 50 fish are killed to produce just one bottle of traditional Omega-3 supplements. This overfishing is stripping our oceans of vital species and disrupting marine ecosystems. It's a domino effect that impacts not just the fish but the entire aquatic food chain.

Then there's the issue of contamination. Fish oil is derived from fish liver, which is the organ responsible for filtering out toxic chemicals. As a result, responsibly produced fish oil can contain harmful levels of mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, and organochlorine pesticides—so in other words, they may pose more health risks than benefits. What we need is a plant-based solution that bypasses these environmental and health hazards. And that’s exactly what Calgee set out to do.

Calgee Sustainable Vegan Omega-3

Calgee flips the script on Omega-3 production by ditching fish entirely. Instead, they get their Omega-3 from the same place fish get it from—namely, algae. This innovative approach harnesses the power of these tiny plants, which produce EPA and DHA in abundance, without the environmental toll of fishing. By cultivating algae in controlled, sustainable environments, Calgee ensures a consistent, contaminant-free product. This method not only spares our oceans but also provides us with a purer form of Omega-3, making it a win-win for health enthusiasts and the planet alike.

Choosing Calgee Sustainable Vegan Omega-3 means embracing a future where our health supplements work in harmony with the environment. And this is more than just talk. Calgee is a member of 1% for the Planet, an innovative global nonprofit made up of ethical businesses that donate 1% of their revenue to environmental organizations working toward innovative new solutions. This is environmentalism in action.

The Science Behind Calgee Omega-3

Scientific studies show that algae-based Omega-3s are just as rich in EPA and DHA as their fish-derived counterparts, and thus just as effective in supporting health and wellness. On top of that, Calgee's vegan Omega-3 formulation is engineered for optimal absorption, ensuring that the body can readily utilize these essential fatty acids. All of their products are made in a FDA certified cGMP facility in the USA, and they employ third party lab testing to maintain quality, potency and ensure our product is free from major allergens.

This science-backed approach underscores Calgee's commitment to delivering a health supplement that doesn't compromise on efficacy. By leveraging cutting-edge research and technology, Calgee ensures that their vegan Omega-3 supplement provides all the benefits you'd expect from traditional fish oil, but in a cleaner, more sustainable form. It's a testament to the power of innovation in creating health solutions that are good for people and the planet.

Get 10% Off Calgee Sustainable Vegan Omega-3

Choosing Calgee Sustainable Vegan Omega-3 means embracing a lifestyle that values both personal health and the planet's well-being. By opting for this algae-based supplement, you're not just nourishing your body with essential Omega-3 fatty acids but also supporting a more sustainable, environmentally friendly approach to wellness. It's a small but powerful step towards a healthier you and a healthier world.

Ready to take another step toward a healthier, sustainable future? Click here to buy, and use coupon code 10UPWORTHY until 3/11/24 to get 10 percent off your purchase at checkout.

Family

Wife says husband's last name is so awful she can't give it to her kids. Is she right?

"I totally get we can’t shield kids from everything, and I understand the whole family ties thing, but c’mon."

A wife pleads with her husband to change their child's name.

Even though it’s 2023 and schools are much more concerned with protecting children from bullying than in the past, parents still have to be aware that kids will be kids, and having a child with a funny name is bound to cause them trouble.

A mother on Reddit is concerned that her future children will have the unfortunate last name of “Butt,” so she asked people on the namenerds forum to help her convince her husband to name their child something different.

(Note: We’re assuming that the person who wrote the post is a woman because their husband is interested in perpetuating the family name, and if it were a same-sex relationship, a husband probably wouldn’t automatically make that assumption.)

"My husband’s last name is Butt. Can someone please help me illuminate to him why this last name is less than ideal,” she asked the forum. “I totally get we can’t shield kids from everything and I understand the whole family ties thing, but c'mon. Am I being unreasonable by suggesting our future kid either take my name, a hybrid, or a new one altogether?"

Keep ReadingShow less
Community

Man uses social media to teach others ASL so kids don't experience what he did as a child

Every child should be able to communicate in a way that works best for them.

Man teaches people ASL so no child experiences what he did

People start communicating from the moment they enter the world usually through cries, faces, grunts and squeals. Once infants move into the toddler phase the combine all of their previous communication skills with pointing and saying a few frequently used words like "milk," "mama," "dada" and "eat."

Children who are born without the ability to hear often still go through those same stages with the exception of their frequently used words being in sign language. But not all hearing parents know sign language, which can stunt the language skills of their non-hearing child. Ronnie McKenzie is an American Sign Language advocate that uses social media to teach others how to sign so deaf and nonverbal kids don't feel left out.

"But seriously i felt so isolated 50% of my life especially being outside of school i had NONE to sign ASL with. Imagine being restricted from your own language," McKenzie writes in his caption.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Bus driver comes to the rescue for boy who didn't have an outfit for school's Pajamas Day

“It hurt me so bad…I wanted him to have a good day. No child should have to miss out on something as small as pajama day.”

Representative Image from Canva

One thoughtful act can completely turn someone's day around.

On the morning just before Valentine’s Day, school bus driver Larry Farrish Jr. noticed something amiss with Levi, one of his first grade passengers, on route to Engelhard Elementary, part of Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) in Louisville, Kentucky.

On any other day, the boy would greet Farrish with a smile and a wave. But today, nothing. Levi sat down by himself, eyes downcast, no shining grin to be seen. Farrish knew something was up, and decided to inquire.

With a “face full of tears,” as described on the JCPS website, Levi told Farrish that today was “Pajama Day” at school, but he didn’t have any pajamas to wear for the special occasion.
Keep ReadingShow less
via Imgur

Memories of testing like this gets people fired up.

It doesn't take much to cause everyone on the internet to go a little crazy, so it's not completely surprising that an incorrect answer on a child's math test is the latest event to get people fired up.

The test in question asked kids to solve "5 x 3" using repeated addition. Under this method, the correct answer is "5 groups of 3," not "3 groups of 5." The question is typical of Common Core but has many questioning this type of standardized testing and how it affects learning.

Keep ReadingShow less