The first time a foster child touched my life, the concept wasn’t in my vocabulary. On a wet dreary fall afternoon, parents of a friend brought me home from what would be called a play date today to find that I had a new high school sister. I was five years old. As I remember the story of the original plan, the arrangement was to last until the end of the school year. By May, a pox would have fallen on anyone who had tried to take her away. While no formal adoption occurred, we all knew she was family. I was startled as an adult when she introduced me to a friend as her “foster sister.” The “foster” part had long since faded into the background for me.
Our grownup paths have diverged, not only to different states but to different countries, and visits have come far too seldom. But when they come, as one did this summer, how exciting it is to pick up where we left off and to remember. She became an amateur stylist and had time that my mother didn't have to put my below waist hair into French braids and ultimately to give me that all-important major haircut when I was in seventh grade. I remembered that she had spent her first year teaching money to buy Mama a Bulova watch for Christmas that was still in her treasures when she gave up housekeeping, though it had stopped running long before. And it was her daughter that gave Daddy the fitting grandfather name of “Pops” used by all the subsequent grandchildren.
It has seemed ironic that the theme of foster children has recurred the rest of the summer. Our local paper has been running a series on foster care including the story of a man who has built a nice foster facility called Homes of Hope for Children born of appreciation for a similar facility in which he grew up. With understanding of the children’s needs and memories of his own less than adequate foster care, he plans to make a difference in their lives. The newspaper series focused on several stories showing renewed efforts to have good placements for foster children that will give happy childhoods that lead into productive adulthood.
The other part of the theme occurred in the books I’ve read – not intentionally to the theme. It just turned out that way. My next blogs will be good books that feature foster children as protagonists, first an adult book and then two children’s books. All three are very good reads.