Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-11-19
Download Issue
  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Sponsor
TRAVEL Eureka Springs, Ark.: Living on mountain time TRAVEL Eureka Springs, Ark.: Living on mountain time
Like the gravity of spring water running down a mountainside, Eureka Springs, ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times    Download PDF Issue

Foster mother becomes advocate for homeless children
by Jamie Anne Royce
2012-08-08

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Listening to Lauri Burns' story, it's hard to believe the technology manager at a defense firm in California and foster mother to 31 children was once herself a troubled teen.

Raised in an abusive environment and saying she felt like her "dad's punching bag," Burns was a ward of the state, growing up in group homes, detention centers and mental institutions.

"The girls in the group homes when I was growing up were 90 percent gay girls. I'm just more comfortable with them," said Burns.

She began using intravenous drugs and engaging in sex work by the age of 19. Soon thereafter, she gave birth to a daughter, who was taken in by family members.

"Most people say, 'God, her kids have been taken away. Why doesn't she get sober?,' but addiction is a vicious cycle," said Burns.

While working as a prostitute one night, Burns was picked up by two men. They drove her to the woods with the intention to kill her, raping and beating her for hours.

"I had been suicidal for years. I thought, 'This is an opportunity, Lauri, to get it over with,'" said Burns.

The men were scared someone had heard her screaming, beating her unconscious and abandoning her in the woods. A man found her lying there, and took her to get help. Burns saw it as a sign to get sober.

"This guy, who I call an angel, just showed up in the woods and saved my life," said Burns. "I really believe my life was saved that night for a reason."

Burns entered recovery at 23, and began hosting a meeting for women in recovery out of her home. One of the women showed up to the meeting and told the group she had left her daughter in a crack house. Burns intervened, offering to take care of her daughter while the mother got help for substance abuse, beginning her foray into foster care.

"I seemed like a magnet for teenagers and at-risk, abused kids," said Burns. "After a few more kids came into my house, I decided I would be a foster parent."

Foster children age out of the system at the age of 18, at the rate of 25,000 per year. Sixty-five percent of youth leaving foster care are in need of housing, according to the Children's Advocacy Institute of the University of San Diego Law School.

"I was a foster mom to 18 kids before I realized kids were leaving the foster system to homelessness. I had no clue, because my kids just stay my kids forever," said Burns. "I had no idea that there were other foster parents who were just saying, 'OK, 18 is here. You gotta go.' And the reason is, obviously, because the check stops."

Burns takes on foster children who have been turned out of other foster homes and/or have experienced intense trauma and abuse.

"You call a normal person and tell them, 'OK, we have a kid. She's been shooting up, involved in sex trafficking and she steals. Would you like to take custody?' They'll say no," said Burns. "Call me and tell me the same story, and I'll say 'Yes, definitely. Where can I get her?' because I know exactly what these kids need because I was one of these kids."

Burns opened the Teen Project in 2007, after marathon fundraising and community support, as transitional housing for six homeless youths, committed to supporting them through college. While not an LGBT specific service, Burns estimates approximately 80 percent of the youth she works with are members of the LGBT community.

Five girls live in Burns's home now, and only one is still in foster care. Those who age out, stay with Burns and go to college.

"I feel like these kids are my family. I grew up with these kids," said Burns. "They feel like family to me. I don't feel like I'm doing anything special."


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily
agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here.
Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you
stay on this page, the more you help us.

Rogers Park transgender woman, her landlord both file lawsuits 2014-11-22
Immigration reform executive order announced, groups repond 2014-11-21
HRC condemns passage of anti-LGBT law in The Gambia 2014-11-21
HRC releases municipal index 2014-11-19
VIEWS Stigma continues with new HIV-criminalization case 2014-11-19
R Family Vacations: Staying strong and fabulous 2014-11-19
ASK LAMBDA LEGAL Veterans' marriage benefits 2014-11-18
UN committee on torture concerned about LGBT conversion therapy 2014-11-13
CPD: Underage drinking, robberies among Lake View priorities 2014-11-12
President Obama releases statement on anniv. of Hate Crimes Act 2014-11-07
Lambda sues Social Security on behalf of gay Chicago widower 2014-11-06
Coming up: 'CLLAW XX'; OUT! Bowling 2014-11-05
Decalogue Society of Lawyers hosts hate-crimes forum 2014-11-04
Campaign spotlights adoption laws making LGBTQs vulnerable 2014-11-02
Expose of Chicago Police published 2014-10-30
'Modern Family' star pops up at pop-up store 2014-10-29
Strict ID laws could hinder trans voters 2014-10-29
Oberweis: Would support federal marriage equality law 2014-10-23
Night of 100 Drag Queens attendees include Modern Family star 2014-10-23
Experts, activists discuss hate-crimes laws, prevention 2014-10-23
White House addressing intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence with women, girls 2014-10-21
ExxonMobil faces complaint alleging anti-LGBT hiring bias 2014-10-21
Focus on the Family's Glenn Stanton talks bigotry, marriage 2014-10-18
ASK LAMBDA LEGAL Workplace fairness 2014-10-14
Guerrilla Queer Bar co-founders criticize new incarnation 2014-10-08
Marriage article in state bar journal 2014-10-08
VIEWS Family with gay dads shines in new middle-grade novel 2014-10-08
Lesbian couple sues area clinic after sperm mix-up 2014-10-06
Census Bureau names new Nat'l Advisory Committee members 2014-10-06
Missouri judge agrees with same-sex couples 2014-10-04
Report: Laws create financial penalties for LGBT Americans 2014-10-01
World news: Gay Times' icons; Russia court upholds LGBT ban 2014-09-30
CA governor signs bill banning use of panic defenses 2014-09-28
UN Human Rights Council votes to support LGBT rights 2014-09-26
EEOC sues in two cases of discrimination against trans* people 2014-09-25
Deidre McCloskey on family and trans* battles to be won 2014-09-17
Trans* woman claims self-defense in case 2014-09-17
UN's Free & Equal; Grindr controversy; Chinese serial killer 2014-09-16
Men Having Babies hosts parenting expo 2014-09-16
ASK LAMBDA LEGAL Trans health care 2014-09-16





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Federal judge: Montana's anti-equal marriage rule unconstitutional
 
TRAVEL Eureka Springs, Ark.: Living on mountain time
 
National Women's Hall of Fame hosts forum in Chicago
 
DISH: SAVOR Old Crow Smokehouse; Kokopelli
 
Leaving a legacy: Danny Kopelson reflects on Hall of Fame life
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now
Sponsor


Sponsor

  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.