Less of Paige

Monday, February 27, 2006

Sad and Amazing

I read the book, "How to be Lost", by Amanda Eyre Ward. This book was very good.

One thing really stuck with me though, from this book. The book is about a family who deals with the loss of a five year old child. I don't want to ruin the ending, so I won't say anymore. Go read it. The thing that stuck with me was this quote:

“When you are small, if you reach out, and nobody takes your hand, you stop reaching out, and reach inside, instead.”

I've been wanting to write about "my kids" for a long time. There are a myriad of poems, quotes, songs, and books that perfectly describe my kids. But this one rings particularly true. When I talk about my kids, I'm talking about the kids I work with. I'm a foster care social worker- this means I spend alot of time on the phone. No, just kidding-- kind of... I support foster families who have accepted high needs foster children into their home, and I support and advocate for those children. I do both family and individual therapy with the families and kids.

Many families don't understand these children. They've (the kids) been abused, neglected, and most of them have been further traumatized by being in foster care and moving from family to family. Basically, by the time they've connected to a family enough to feel safe, and act out their internal feelings, families decide they can't manage them. So they move. And this happens over. and over. and over.

Don't get me wrong. Foster care is a huge necessity and it can be an amazing force for children when it works. But it's not the best- the best would be for children to be able to be home with their families.

I'm not saying what I want to. I guess what I wanted to say is- I totally understand that quote. It's about rejection. I think we do this, small or not. If we offer something- particularly ourselves or our need- and are rejected, we don't offer again. We figure, we'll be rejected again, I'll just take care of myself.

This is one thing when you are 26. It can be managed, and dealt with. And moved on from. It is quite another when you are 2, or 7, or 12. And you have kept on trying to reach out your hand, and it's never taken. And so you stop reaching it out. This is what most of my children do. That no one understands. They are small children, who have not been able to trust those they should have most been able to trust- and they are reaching inside themselves. Children trying to raise themselves. It's the saddest thing.

I love my job. I love getting to know my children. I love when I can advocate for my children. I love watching my foster parents take care of children and watching them blossom and grow into children who can learn to trust- and they can, most of the time. And that's the most amazing thing.


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