seeing-their-voices-western-massWe speak the truth on behalf of vulnerable children, no matter how difficult it is to hear. Because it shouldn’t be so hard to be a kid.

This project was initiated by Friends of Children to give young people who have experienced foster care a vehicle to express themselves. It is intended to both raise awareness and to positively impact the lives of every child still in care.
It is so important for all of us to understand the hopes and dreams of children in foster care and to know that they count on us to help them get to a positive future.

SEEING OUR VOICES (formerly SEEING THEIR VOICES) tells their stories with words and images. Through a collection of 30 pieces of work, including photography and poetry, young people describe the trauma of being removed from their homes, the fear in being separated from their parents and the anxiety of not knowing when – or if – they could ever go back.

Viewers will hear the voices of Ronni, Jose, Louise, Brandon, Fumi and Stephen and others.

We thank photographer and Amherst gallery owner Ani Rivera, who helped us conceive and execute this important project, and writer Amy Gutman, who worked with our young people to help them express their longings, their sadness.

SEEING OUR VOICES has been displayed at the Statehouse in Boston. The goal is to take it on the road in a traveling exhibit to educate about the plight of foster children nationwide. But to do that, we need your help.

BMP, Age 18
9 Placements

“Dad chose the wrong person over me. My mother doesn’t give a crap.”

“These are my go-to guys when I’m upset. I just snuggle with them until I calm down.”

BMP was in 9 placements by the time he was nine
years old. The longest placement he was in was for
2 years. He has lived in 7 communities throughout
the state and more schools than he can recall. He
wants people to know that foster parents are people
that care for you. He described his biological
parents as uncaring and people that made choices
not to protect him.

Fumi, Age 16
4 Placements

I Love You Mom and Dad

I love you mom and dad just the same
As you love me. Thank you for showing me
What not to be.

My favorite saying is ‘Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.’

All your broken promises haunt me in my sleep.
Every mothers’ and fathers’ day,
I sit silently and weep.

What once were my heroes, my own
Inspiration left me with heartbreak and
Parental limitations. You’re slipping away so soon
Become a figment of my imagination.

I love you mom and dad, just the same as
You love me. My one wish is to get
Things back to the way they used to be.

Ronni, Age 17
6 Placements

I Am
Ronni, Age 17

Pretty, ugly, talented, reliable, trustworthy, not
Nice, kind, mean, lovable, hateful, rude, careful,
Negative, positive, bright, cute, emo, preppy,
Conceited, weird, southern, white, oreo, wanna
Be, selfish, disrespectful, caring, loyal, obeying,
Happy, dangerous. She’s Ronni.
“I think.”


I been through a lot, and with all the negativity
That’s been flowing with the wind through my life it
Seemed to me that no one seemed to care at all and
I’m very protective of myself and insecurities and
my secret.

I have a secret, which is me being in foster care, and
I told Jay. At first it was hard, but I was able to tell
Him why, how and when I came in foster care, and
He accepted it.