I was put into foster care when I was two-years old, and I've been in the system ever since. The moment I stepped into a group home when I was 12, I felt like it was a mistake. There I was, with about a dozen other teen boys.
On my very first day, I got into a fight during a basketball game. I was physically restrained by a staff member and put on "lockdown." That meant except for school, I had to stay in my room, eat alone, and keep apart from the other kids for seven days. I didn't feel like a kid in time out. I felt like an inmate.
Even on a regular week, our lives were super-regimented.
At night, staff walked the halls with flashlights, looking into the rooms. In addition to heavy security, I met regularly with a therapist who prescribed me medication. I remember almost all the kids there were on something. We lined up for our medicine, which was given out in those little, paper condiment cups. The drugs made me feel like a zombie.
After a year, because of good behavior, I was eventually returned to my foster family. It took me a long time to adjust to normal life, because for so long I couldn't rely on anyone and I was always afraid of getting in trouble.