This is what a prison letter looks like. Writing is always small because paper cost them. Usually has a colorful picture. This one is from the son we never adopted. We had been fostering for a very short time when we got the call. Our criteria was 4-10 years old. They told us he was 11 would we take him. Then another call to tell us he was actually 12, by the time he got here he was actually 13 years old.
We were very green at fostering but agreed to take him anyway. We had him a few weeks before we found out he was a cutter. The long sleeve shirts always covered it up. We started checking arms and he began cutting his thighs. He was hospitalized off and on pretty frequently. He would break light bulbs and cut himself and take apart pencil sharpeners at school for the blades. He was funny and loving and talented. He was extremely ADHD and he would make extraordinarily beautiful origami designs from paper. It seemed to be the only thing he would set still for. When he would go to the Psych hospital and I would go to visit the nurse station would be filled with his Origami designs and flowers. I would sit in the visiting room and he would curl up his 6 foot frame into a chair and lay his head in my lap the whole visit.
His story was a hard one. In and out of foster care and back in since he was 3 years old. Mom left him with Dad as a baby. Moved from home to home, more than he could remember. At 8 he was finally removed for good, after Dad had strangled him with his belt. I fell in love with this boy and wanted to adopt him. But due to the frequent self harm attempts CPS decided he needed to be in a locked facility where he would have 24 hour awake staff to monitor him.
We never lost touch he would call or message me on Facebook every so often. Then he showed up on my door step one Thanksgiving with his older sister. He was 17 now and living with her. CPS was handing over custody to her. A few months later I get a call that Sister had sent him back to live with Dad. He was leaving. He came home to me for a few weeks then was with friends. Called for money a few times. Then the calls and messages stopped. I contacted his sister to see if he was ok.
My son had moved in with his girlfriend and they had a baby. When the baby turned 5 months old Mom had left the baby with him. He had been drinking and the baby was crying. He had strangled the baby she had died at 5 months old) He now is in prison for life.
I think what if CPS had removed him the first time at 3 years old. What if he had not been moved from home to home. What if I had fought harder for him. What if he had know that when things got too tough he could have brought that little girl to me to care for.
This letter he tells me how much he loves me because Im the only one that never gave up on him. But I could have done so much more. He is one of the statistics.