Arthur has always been very open about his 9 years as a Crown Ward and regularly gives speeches and talks to the media about his experiences in care. “Whether good or bad, my time in care has shaped me into the person I am today”, he says.
People frequently ask, “Do you know your real family?”, because they assume that by
virtue of being in foster-care all contact with his biological family ceased forever. That
couldn’t be further from the truth for him and for the thousands of other Crown Wards who are in the system but still have contact with their biological families.
This question raises lots of other questions for him. He says, “First of all, why do people
in society automatically assume that I no longer have contact with my biological family?
And second, do people really think that being a Crown Ward is some fancy word for adoption?” Every time he gets asked these questions, he always reflects on what would
have happened if he had been adopted.”
He was born to a single mother who suffers from mental illness. His father left before he
was born and his grandmother raised him. Things took a turn for the worse when he was
5 years old and his grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She was in and out
of the hospital for 2 years before finally taking up residence in a nursing home when
Arthur was 7. His mom took over for his grandmother but things eventually got so bad
that she began physically abusing him and at 9 years old CAS got involved and so
began his life in the Child Welfare system.
Arthur had a lot of behavioral problems growing up, making it challenging for him to find
stability within the system. From 1999 until 2008 he lived in 16 different group homes
and foster homes.
Since his Crown Wardship expired on his 18th birthday he has moved back in with his
biological mother and has experienced tremendous success. Still, on almost a daily
basis he reflects and wonders, “What would the quality of my life have been if I had
found permanency; a forever family to love me?” He believes this to be a question worth
asking and analyzing. While he was in care the question of adoption came up several
times and there always seemed to be excuses or no answers at all as to why it couldn’t
be explored or proceeded with despite foster parents wishing to adopt him.
So many children, young and old linger in the system and many of them crave stability.
They want a second chance at a family. If they couldn’t find permanency in the home
they were born into, they’re more than willing to find another family who wants them. In
his opinion it’s not that families don’t want to open their doors and hearts, it’s the barriers
in the system that are preventing this. Children depend on adults to provide leadership
when it comes to permanency, the future of our kids depends on it.”
Disclaimer "These stories are the perspectives of awaiting parents. Adopt4Life aims to give parents a voice, and as such stories remain unchanged even if they may appear controversial. It is the hope of Adopt4Life that by bringing awareness to the thoughts and feelings of families, together we can work to bring change that benefits everyone."