Are You Somebody?

Have you ever read one of those stories about the toddler who was critically dehydrated after being left alone in a crib for days, crying while her mother got high?  Or the one about the eight year old boy who was hospitalized after being beaten by his father with a baseball bat?  Did you think to yourself “somebody should do something about that?”

Did you find yourself outraged after reading a story about a child being taken from their family on trumped up charges?   Did you wonder why someone doesn’t help grown ups deal with addiction or mental illness so that their children could live safely with them?

What about that story about how the foster care system is filled with cold, uncaring social workers who lose track of where children are placed? Or about the greedy foster parents who spend the foster stipend money on themselves while feeding the kids just once a day? Did you think to yourself “somebody should do something about that?”

I read these stories.  I was outraged.  I thought somebody should do something.  Then, I realized that I am somebody.  I became a foster parent.  A good one (or least to the best of my ability).  I love the children, care for them, advocate for them at their schools or therapist’s office or in the courts.  I advocate for their biological parents, too, helping them get their voices heard, their needs met, and have a real chance at getting their children back.  I volunteer to help out the foster care agency and help train new foster parents.

You could do this, too.  All you have to do is Be Somebody.

If you want child abuse to end.  If you want families going through hard times to be given a fair chance.  If you want the “system” to work as well as it can.

All you have to do is Be Somebody, the somebody who steps forward to be a foster parent.

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This post is part of the Adoption Talk Link Up on the topic of foster care / adoption memes.  Check out the link for other great voices on foster care and adoption!

Too Young for Suicidal Thoughts?

At what age should you take a child’s self-harming or suicidal thoughts seriously?  8-year-old Watchful is doing these things, and his social worker doesn’t seem to think it’s a big deal.

But she’s wrong.

We don’t like to think that a small child can honestly want to hurt themselves or take their own life.  But it happens. As a (bio, adoptive, foster) mom, I’ve seen traumatized children find ways to harm themselves.  I remember one child’s first plan was to find a snake to bite ’em, just like how Cleopatra committed suicide.  Seems laughable.  Same child eventually threw their self out of a moving car.  Not so funny.  At age 6.  Really, really not funny.

Another child, age 10, declared no more eating ever.  Just wait ’til that child gets really hungry and that problem will go away, right?  Um, it’s been several years and that child still has issues with chronic malnutrition and being underweight as they don’t eat sufficient food.

So now that Watchful has talked about ways he wants to die, says life is pointless, has repeatedly hit himself, has skipped at least one meal every day for over a week, talks constantly about death, blood, and bruises… well, listen up, social worker.  It’s serious!!!

Kendrea Johnson, aged 6, hung herself with a jump rope

Gabriel Myers, aged 7, hung himself with a shower hose

Brandajah Smith, aged 5, shot herself

Last week, social worker, I asked you for an urgent doctor’s appointment, but Watchful is still waiting.  His life is at risk!  So don’t just tell me that “maybe the psychologist will call next week to arrange an appointment.”