My Lost Decade

Reflections on Ten Years in Foster Care and my life since.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Whenever life takes you away from the people and places you have known, there is a mark that you leave behind you. Whatever the people from your past remember about you and whatever deeds you did to change their lives or the situation you were in together becomes your legacy. I thought it would be interesting to think about the legacies some of the people in my life have left for me. I'm going to try to keep the lists to two or three items per person and go for a chronological listing of when they exited my life so that the end of the list are the people who are still in my life. Part two will be written some other time and it will list the legacies I hope to leave for others.

My biological father - A dad is someone who takes the time to get to know you, loves you and raises you. Sperm donors are a better name for men who don't do anything but inseminate your mother. (Only makes the top of the list because he exited my life before I was born.)

My maternal grandmother - Unconditional love means forgiving people. Never marry a substance abuser. Tell people how much you love them regularly so that you do not have regrets when they are gone.

My maternal grandfather - Substance abuse can ruin lives. It is important to apologize to people you may hurt before you are on your death bed. Introduced me to chocolate.

My maternal aunt - Always do your best. Know when it is time to cut your losses. You do not have to be wealthy to lead a rich life.

First foster family - God will forgive you for just about anything, but you need to ask and really be sorry that you messed up. There are gifts you can make that are better than anything you can buy in a store. You are never too old to be young.

Second foster family (also see sixth foster family) - Families are important. Anger makes people do stupid things. I never want to own a horse when I grow up.

Third foster family - The Department of Human Services is totally oblivious to what foster parents are really up to in their homes. Children are powerless to stop adults who want to hurt them. Adults are fallible.

Fourth foster family - The Department of Human Services treats good foster families like crap. A good family with a small house gets less respect from DHS than a corrupted family with a big house.

Fifth foster family - Foster parents sometimes take in children to meet their own selfish emotional needs. You can make money by being a foster parent, but you have to deprive the kids to do it. Some foster parents are willing to deprive the kids of basic needs.

Sixth foster family (see also second foster family) - Anything can be forgiven. Families are forever. Nobody is perfect.

All of my foster grandparents - Being a grandparent rules. The more grandkids, the merrier. Once you are part of a family, you will always be part of that family, no matter what happens.

Best friend #1's family - A real Christian does not judge people. Your family can be made up of anyone you want it to include. God only gives us what he knows we can handle.

Best friend #2's family - Even perfect looking families have their problems. Being a young mom is not always a bad thing. Figure out whose back you have and make sure they have yours too.

Best friend #1 - Geographic distance does not kill a friendship that is real. People can be ugly ducklings too. No matter how much you love your best friend and wish she was your sister, having her date your brother would be too weird.

Best friend #2 - Just because someone is as strong as stone does not mean they do not have feelings. Too thine own self be true. Don't let anyone tell you who to love and not love.

My birth mom - The number of years you have been alive has nothing to do with your real age. Though a person's capacity may be limited in some regards, it is often heightened in others. Intelligence is highly over-rated.

My sister - You can be anything you want to be, as long as you are yourself. I am an admirable person. Your twin is sometimes born ten years after you, and has no blood connection to you.

My husband - Anything is forgivable. Anything is achievable. It is possible to fall madly in love with someone you once refused to even consider dating.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I am Jane Eyre

I enjoyed writing the recent Harry Potter post so much that I decided I would make a similar list of parallels between my life and that of one of my other favorite literary characters, Jane Eyre. For anyone who is not into Victorian literature, Jane Eyre is a book by Charlotte Bronte about an orphan girl. I first read it in high school for and I fell in love with it instantly. The movie is on TV right now and I am listening to it as I type. I wonder if other foster kids have found similarities between their life and this book.

An obvious connection is that both of our names start with the letter J.

Both of us were without any siblings.

We both also fell in love with and married a man named Edward, whom others find a bit odd, but whom we find beautiful, charming, brilliant and amazing.

Both Edwards were with a woman who was out of her mind before we came along.

Jane had no relatives who were ready/willing/able to take care of her, so she ended up in the care of strangers. This is true for me also.

Both of us had an aunt on our mother's side of the family, who was a single parent, who had three children and tried to take care of us for a while.

It did not work out in either case.

Those women were the ones who sought alternate placements for each of us.

While she lived with that aunt, Jane had a male cousin who constantly picked on her with no intervention from his mother. This was something I also experienced while living with my aunt.

Both of these cousins also had J names.

Jane and I were both girls who drew more attention for our intellect and artistic gifts than for our beauty.

As a child, Jane's favorite past time was sitting somewhere quiet and looking at books. The same was true for me.

Note: My new job is going very well, but making it very hard to find time to blog right now, so please bare with me if my posts are a bit sporadic.