Chihiro Sato

Due to my family’s circumstances, I entered a Yogoshisetu (group facility) when I was 15 years old. I then received the benefit of extended care and stayed in the foster care system until I was 19. Being blessed with good, kind people around me and with a scholarship, I was able to go to the college of my dreams, International Christian University (ICU).

During my 4 years at the Yogoshisetu, I encountered many difficulties. However, staff at the facility were all very nice and I enjoyed the life there. Needless to say, I got into quarrels with peers and complained numerous times. Facility staff always guided me in a straight forward manner, and I was able to build trustworthy relationship with them. I still visit my group facility and go out to have meals with staff members. I am grateful for the facility staff who supported me when I was discouraged.

For the 4 years at the facility, and after I left the system, there were many tough situations in which I needed to grit my teeth to succeed. My negative relationship with the child protection office, and with my biological parents was not the only example of my hardship. The loneliness that I felt at the time of aging out was also very difficult to tackle. Somewhere in my mind, I always whispered to myself that I need to endure more because I am not a “normal child.”

Although we live in group facilities and foster homes, we are not aliens.Through IFCA’s programs and activities, I would like to let people know about foster care and to have a circle of people who can think about the future of foster children. My goal is to lessen the difficult experiences of my fellow foster care alumni and to make sure that my young foster brothers and sisters have a brighter future.