In 2015, a charity organization shared a picture of a wish list written by a foster child in Oklahoma. Their caption reads, “When we think of how bad we have things, we MUST always remember the children who have nothing. Who NEED us.” Although they share no further information about the child, the list speaks volumes about the kind of home they may have been raised in. The items listed are so simple, so easy to provide, yet the child believed they were something they had to ask for. For those considering adopting or fostering a child, this list might be the deciding argument.
Charity organization Dreamcatchers for Abused Children’s mission is to educate about child abuse and help victims find resources to help them heal. They also provide information about symptoms of child abuse to look out for, intervention methods, prevention tactics, children’s rights and safety, as well as share stories about these issues.  Stories about abused children are horrifying and painful to read about. But a few words written by an abused child can strike even more deeply. This was definitely the case when Dreamcatchers for Abused Children shared one foster child’s family wish list and broke the hearts of everyone who read it.
“Things I want in my family: I want food and water. Don’t hit on me. A house with running water and lights. I want love. Mom and dad don’t fight. I want no drugs. Don’t kill my pets. Help with school. Nice clean clothes. No lice. No bug in house. Clean house. Clean bed with covers. Don’t sell my toys. Treated fair. Don’t get drunk. TV in house. Let me keep my games. School stuff. Nice shoes. My own comb. Soap. Nice house and safe. AC and heater. Coat. Toothbrush.”
Image Credit: Dreamcatchers for Abused Children | Facebook
Read: Gay Dads Adopt 6 Siblings That Had Spend Almost 5 Years In Foster Care
Unfortunately, many children in the United States could write a similar wish list. Every year, over 4 million referrals went to child protection services for 4.3 million children in need. In just 2019, agencies found over 656,000 victims of child abuse. Even worse, state agencies estimated 1,840 children died from abuse and neglect in just 2019. That’s five kids a day on average, and some studies show that these numbers are significantly undercounted. 
Child abuse can come in many forms, but all can negatively impact the victim’s health and well-being. It could come in the form of physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, medical abuse, or neglect. Knowing the signs for each one can save a child from further maltreatment. These can include:
There are many reasons children go into the foster system, abuse and neglect are just one of many. Sometimes children are abandoned, orphaned, or have parents in prison. In any situation, the result is always the same: a child in need. Sometimes they need a temporary home where they can heal and feel loved, and sometimes they need a forever family. There are many things to research and consider before taking in a child; it’s not a light decision but it’s often an extremely rewarding one.
Some considerations are universal to fostering and adopting. For instance, everyone in the household needs to be on board, including the biological children. The decision will greatly affect everyone and if someone is unwilling, they can create an unwelcoming and resentful environment. Additionally, children, especially one from a traumatic background will need endless patience, support, and love, as well as their physical needs met. They will need quality time, emotional energy, and financial security.