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“Foster Home” or Just “Home”

I have briefly blogged before about the fact that I am in graduate school. I have been privileged to work with kids who are in the foster care system. I don’t know what you typically think of when you think of Foster Care, but my experience as a volunteer have been refreshing! Maybe you think of Annie or even more recently the Foster home from “Despicable Me” with sweet Miss Hattie. Did I say sweet? I meant Horrible Hattie and her box of shame! When I began my first internship there I didn’t know what to expect. I had no idea what the place was going to look like. I think I was expecting something like a barracks or a sterile environment or sorts. I am glad that I was wrong.

Well the organization I run with has a Miss Hattie, but she is just the opposite.  She ensures that the home in “Foster Home”, is the key ingredient.  These kids come from a wide variety of backgrounds, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, but when they come to the home, they are part of a family where they receive love, boundaries, attention, counseling, encouragement,… sometimes for the first time in their lives. It makes you angry when you hear the stories of what their “parents” have done to them or have allowed to happen to them.

This Group Home is colorful, inviting, filled with toys, books, games and lots of caring people.  These kids come for a few weeks or a few months, but they are all very special.  Some of these kids have never had 3 meals a day and snacks, their own toys, birthdays, been to a movie, or gone on a field trip,… it is truly a new world for them. Just as they are starting to get comfortable however, for many it is time to go. It’s hard to see them go to foster parents, it is easy to get attached and you have favorites, although you do you best to never show it, and you never say so, but its hard to see them leave, even if you know it’s too a good place.

All in all, you know that this is the best “home” some of these kids have ever been a part of and you fear for them when they leave. Kids are a product of their environment and sometimes they go back, the “family” that they came from, and you wonder if they will make it.

I think that this is the key lesson we aim to teach these children, “We are influenced by where we come from, but it never determines where we end up!”

I would have to say. at least where I am,.. you could leave the foster off the Foster Home and just say Home!

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