Saturday, September 15, 2007

False Allegations & CPS: Reflections of a Foster Youth

If a village burns, all see the smoke;
but if the heart is in flames,
no one notices.
African Proverb from
Marcia Brown,
Lotus Seeds, p. 185.

Maybe today someone will see me...

and remember I'm here....

Can't help wondering...if it is known, as it is through much research, that the positive attention of just one person in the life of an abused and/or neglected child can mean a postiteve difference throughout that child's life, then why are we so reluctant to even notice or be involved with the children? For myself, the struggle is usually a sense of hopeless helplessness in the presence of so great a need. But that mistake is grounded in the failure to know what I know when I need to know it most... children see the Emperor has no clothes, and they see when someone notices them. Simply validating the existence of a child may be a gift far greater than we may imagine.

Check out PrairieGuy for his reflections on foster care... very interesting.

Yesterday I heard Dr. Phil say, "It isn't whether something is fair or not; what matters is what is." That reminded me of the day I really learned the value of not turning away because looking at something the way it is causes too much pain.

In 1991, while working with kids, ages 2-11, who were surviving in spite of moderate levels of abuse and neglect I learned that lesson deeply. I developed a free afterschool program at the local library to get them off the streets, into a safe place, for a couple hours a day. Nothing spectacular. A simple little program, where I read to them; did a craft with them; fed them a snack; listened to them and so forth. One day a couple of the littlest girls arrived in shabby dresses, no socks, shoes, sweaters, etc. That wasn't unusual, for many of the children came that way on a regular basis.

This day through they came that way through the sleet and snow. Red raw hands, cheeks and feet didn't stop them from coming. While the children were busy with their craft, I slipped into the hallway to cry out my anger at how unfair life is for so many, my frustration at being unable to do more for them. "What good is reading some damn book, doing some stupid craft, for kids who need so much?" But when I returned to the room and saw the children, warm and safe for the time being, happily immersed in their efforts, carefully helping one another as they had learned to do in a setting where their help was needed and valued, I realized that I could be frustrated over what wasn't for them, or celebrate with them what was.

Take aware,
Nancy Lee

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