Facing My Future

These self portraits were created by children living in foster care. The children were asked to imagine their sunny future and how they would like to feel in that future. The children then thought about what would make them feel that way. While creating their art, the children considered how the sorrow and difficulties they had experienced in the past might influence their happiness in the future.

The Real Me

My self portrait shows the parts of me I show to the world as well as the parts I keep hidden. The sun above my head means that I am generally happy and out going. The circles in the bottom corner with hearts inside represent my desire to have attention and love. I like to be on stage and feel the love and adoration of the audience. My family wasn't ever there for me so I basically grew up alone. I never got to enjoy my childhood. That is why even though I am 16, I still act like a child sometimes. My red nose represents my funny child-like side. My right eye looks like a globe because I like to observe and pay attention to everything. I was isolated and kept inside a lot growing up so I am trying to catch up on what I missed. The red arrows represent how my anger comes and goes a lot. I can also suddenly get depressed. The question marks show that am confused about who I am. The xxxxxx = p means that I have six people in my past who hurt me, abandoned me, and didn't believe in me. I want to prove them wrong. I want them to know I am a good person and that I do matter. The fire is the hatred I have inside of me. It's a heavy weight to carry. In my sunny future the hate would be gone. The moon represents my loneliness. The stripes and long purple hair covering my face show how I hide my feelings and who I really am from the outside world. I wear a mask of many colors. The necklace is my hope for balance in the future. The moon, on the necklace, is for the darkness in my past. The sun shows my hope for the future. In that future I will have learned from the past, but it will not weigh me down or hold me back. In the future I hope for a life full of sunshine. 

Julian, age 16


My portrait is a picture of hope, my past, my future and new beginnings. The sun represents my future and the success that I will have. The blue sky shows the abundant opportunities I have through kind people and hard work. The color green represents hope and the hills stand for all the obstacles I've overcome. My eyes are looking straight ahead. They are staring back at all the people who said I couldn't, my giants that I knocked down. My eyes also show my confidence. The red cross represents sacrifice and God. The biggest motivator in my life is God. He gave the ultimate sacrifice - His Son. The cross also stands for my future plans to be a doctor. My mouth is small because I observe and listen more than I speak. The dark strands of hair symbolize the roots I am planting to help me grow into a better person, learning from my past. The flower, so innocent and beautiful represents my innocence and the pride I have in my unique abilities and talents. All in all my portrait stands for hope, serenity, hard work, past pain, optimism and beauty.

Briana, age 17


Self Expression

When creating my self portrait I had only one thing in mind, to express who I am through my art. My eye in my portrait is big because it tells a lot about me. The white streaks represent how life goes so fast. The red lines represent the stress I feel everyday. My face is faded to represent all the parts of me that that have been lost over the years. One by one my family has been taken away. My face is still partially there, to show that over the years, I have gained an appreciation of what I had but lost. In the thought clouds I put things that fill my mind. The books are there because I like to read. I like to read lots of different kinds of books.The stage on fire represents my burning desire to be on stage. Music is a big part of my life. I wrote the names of bands I like. They are an expression of me. I hope to be a musician. The jagged tooth mouth shows how I often feel like yelling. I am so frustrated and angry. So much is built up inside of me. The colored shapes represent random moods I experience. I feel many different moods throughout each day. The land and sky represent a peaceful place. I want to be in a peaceful place. Being in a peaceful place makes me feel free. I want to be free.

Devin, age 13