Some 150 foster youth from across the state gathered this past weekend for fellowship, mentoring and inspiration. Lexington resident Ian Rosser (ROSS-er) helped lead the conference at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond.
Rosser says foster children try their best to blend in with all the other kids in the school setting. The 24-year-old was in foster care for 13 years. "You're almost like a phantom in a way. You go to a public school, you come home. You do regular things, like any other kid, but nobody knows you are in foster care. So, nobody knows that title, nobody knows the pain, what you go through with that, your day to day life and how you grow up just so differently than a kid with a mother and father," said Rosser.
Many Kentucky foster children dread the day when they turn 18. This is when young people "age out" of foster care. However, in Kentucky, they can recommit for another three years. Rosser did just that. "You kind of psyche yourself out and think that, as soon as you turn 21, all the social workers and everybody just goes, 'I'm done with you.' I'm not gonna answer my phone. I don't like you," explained Rosser. "You think that is going to happen. It's very pessimistic, until that day comes and not everybody's experience will be the same either, but for me, those people were still there. They're still there to this day."
Rosser says one of his closest friends is a 40-year-old social worker. He says it started out as client-social worker, but developed into a beautiful friendship.