Foster Care Month: local girl speaks about how foster care helped her

 

PADUCAH – Children’s Rights Organization says more than 443,000 children are in foster care in the United States.

Jessie Kruger was one of those children put in foster care after being mentally, emotionally, and physically abused by her own mother, every day.

Kruger shares her story as a part of Foster Care Month.

“She would hit us with belts the paddle with her face,” Kruger said. “I remember one time she punched me in the eyes so bad that it immediately bruised,”

As a child, it’s hard to understand that the person who is supposed to love you the most: hurts you.

“You want love and compassion from your mom and she didn’t give it to us,” Kruger said. “It was every day there was never a break,”

Kruger lived every day in fear, at the place where she should feel the most protected, her home.

“She would throw us into walls she would call a stupid tell us we’re never going to amount to anything,” Kruger said. “We never knew why we were getting abused really because we were doing what she told us to do,”

At 13, Kruger’s mom passed away. She went into foster care at 15, until she was 18. She was in independent living until 21, a program provided by Sunrise Children Services.

“The abuse has motivated me to kind of prove my mom wrong,” Kruger said.

Kruger says that she never knew what love was until she went into foster care, but it wasn’t until she had her daughter, Theresa, that she knew that she was capable of loving and how to be loved.

“Going to school was my escape,” Kruger said. “I loved it. I excelled in school, so I stayed in the books and I focused because I knew that that was going to be my only way out.”

Next year, she’ll be graduating with a degree in social work. She wants to help those going through the same hard times.

“There are so many bad things that happened to children who are abused and I want to be able to help more and more people get away from their trauma,” Kruger said.

Kruger is not letting her past dictate her future.

There are more than 17,000 children in foster care in Illinois, more than 13,000 children in Missouri, more than 8,000 in Tennessee, and almost 10,000 in Kentucky.

All of these kids are waiting for a permanent home.

For more information on how you can become a foster parent in your state, click here.