If you’re anyone, you watched Arthur as a kid. It was my favorite. I always liked the brother-sister relationship between him and D.W. (Dora Winifred – who names their kid that anyway?) probably because I always wanted a sibling. (You know you want to watch that video).
Well guess what. It’s never too late. During my first year at Amherst, my parents decided to become foster parents. They’re fairly generous, helpful people, and they also wanted to get licensed, (like, legit), since they’ve done things like this in the past for some of my childhood friends and younger family members. Every break since, I’ve come home to several little brothers – two high-school aged ones my freshman year, then only one of those two last year, and then one younger boy this year, though I only met him once before he left. I just learned during Thanksgiving break I would be having an eleven-year-old foster sister for the rest of the year. Our state has fairly few resources for their foster care program, so my parents are often called up for help in giving these kids a place to stay, if only temporarily.
I’m not gonna lie – sometimes it’s pretty hard, for my parents obviously, but also for me on my trips home. These kids come from pretty horrible situations, and it takes them awhile to adjust – to trust, to function, to feel comfortable in our house. And I feel like I have to go through the same sort of process when I go home; it’s different when your house, your spaces, are changed by a new person living there. You have to adjust your pattern, even during a week-long visit home for the holidays. But you get used to it. I’m getting used to it.
And now I really like it. I wish I were actually home to get to know these kids and to have a chance to play the big-sister role (it has come out occasionally – I had a blast taking my little foster bro to see Harry Potter last year), but I still appreciate what my parents are doing all the same. More than anything, I’m so much more aware of the difference between having good and bad parents – the results of the bad ones are often under my roof, and I have heard many of my mom’s horror stories about their struggles to function.
This is important – it took me several years to realize that. A lot of people don’t know much about foster care and what it’s like to experience it, and it shows. It needs more funds, more support, more willing families, and more attention. Which is why I wanted to put this out there to all of you in the ‘Cac. After all – we are a community of many, many things, but most importantly, of education.