I wish there was no Foster Care
May is Foster Care Month
I wish there was no Foster Care. Going into Foster Care, for a child, means losing everything you’ve known, your toys, your clothes, your neighbors, your parents, sometimes your school, sometimes your siblings. You get plopped in a place, often in the middle of the night that you don’t know, with a strange bed, often after a traumatic event involving of one or more of your parents.
I would like to describe a foster parent for you.
Cassie and Albert are what I call professional foster parents. I know Cassie better, as Albert works to provide for their family. I was a CASA for one of the kids in their care, so I will be referring to Rosa as well on this post.
Together Cassie and Albert raised 3 biological children. They opened their home to fostering when their last child was in her last year of high school. Shortly before they began fostering, they lost an adult child in a motor vehicle collision. Cassie has a quiet grace about her because of this loss, but I also believe the grace comes from her desire to make a difference in a child’s life. She and Albert knew they wanted to give back to their community as their children started to leave home. Some might say that fostering replaces the loss of their child. I don’t believe that. As foster parents they know their home is a stopping place for a child in her DCS journey. The child will reach permanency somewhere, not in their home.
Rosa, was 8 when she came to Cassie’s and Alberts. She arrived in the middle of the night after her father was arrested and her mother could not be found. She had two other, little siblings (4, and 2) that went to another foster home. Rosa, was parentified. She was often the main support for her younger siblings, she talked about them constantly.
That first night Cassie hugged Rosa, who gave her a stiff hug back and showed Rosa to her room, a room that she would share with another foster kid. Cassie stayed with Rosa, listening to her talk about her siblings, Cassis assured Rosa, her siblings were safe and cared for. Rosa cried herself to sleep knowing she could not read her siblings a book at night and tuck them in. Cassie assured Rosa, that she will be there in the morning and would introduce her to her foster siblings, and to Albert.
I met Rosa a week later. By this time, Rosa had learned the routine in Cassie’s and Albert’s home. Rosa met her foster siblings and had returned to the same school she had been at. She knew she was in a safe place, had regular meals, did not have to sleep in a car or home without plumbing or electricity. She still missed her siblings, and wanted to go back with her Dad, but understood (as best an 8 year old can understand) that normal was not going to return for a while.
She was at Cassie’s and Albert’s for over a year. Rosa’s father ended up in prison for drug sales and possession—he wasn’t getting out for at least 7 years. Her youngest sibling got adopted; it appeared the middle sibling was also going to be adopted—and that family wanted to add Rosa to their family! Through the love and guidance of Cassie, and Albert, Rosa knew their home was only a stopping place for her; permanency would come in the form of a loving adoptive sister and a new family willing to love her. Cassie was sad when Rosa left, a happy kind of sad. She has seen many children go out her door and to a new life—she knows she and Albert have made a difference for a child. Cassie, and Albert were ready for the next child, in crisis, to join their home in the middle of the night and have a safe space.
Names, and other identifiable characteristics where changed for this story.