In the Beginning
My parents divorced when I was pretty young, and my father ended up living in a trailer park for about a year. When my siblings and I would visit him (every other weekend), we got to know his neighbors and all the kids living in the trailer park. At the bottom of the hill, there was a small house/shack – 3 little boys lived there with their crazy mother. When she wanted to go out, she would put the boys in the bedroom they shared and locked them in until she returned. She also used to hit them and was otherwise completely abusive. The boys were close in age, had that “dirty kid” smell and look to them, and were otherwise unremarkable – but for some reason, they got to me.
I began campaigning for my mother to take care of the boys. Why not? Oh, the fantasies I had of saving them, cleaning them up, presenting them to the rest of my 3rd grade class as my special project. Of course, it never happened and my father moved a year a bit later. The boys, I am sure, went on to lead miserable lives. I heard a few years later one of them died after being hit by car – unsupervised, I’m sure.
But in looking back on my life, I can point to this episode as the beginning of my desire to become a foster parent. At 8 years old, I knew. I also became very interested in adoption around the same time, and I was so puzzled as to why people would continue to make babies when there were already kids needing families here NOW.
I am a former foster parent. I had one trio of sisters whom we cared for for about a week. Later I became a “therapeutic foster parent” for a private agency and cared for an emotionally disturbed 12 year old boy for about 4 months before moving out of state. I believe that my foster parenting career was a big failure.
I am too tired to get into it all now, but I can say that things always seem much more “do-able” when you are a kid.