Monday, July 29, 2013

Imagine This

Take a minute to imagine the following...

You're six.  You go to school like you do every single weekday morning, only this time you don't get to come home.  Ever.

You didn't know it, but that morning was the last time you would ever see your house, sleep in your bed, and play with your toys.  The last time.  And you didn't even know it was coming.  

By the way, you no longer go to that school.  

You are about to be relocated.  Everything will be new to you.  People, foods, clothes, school, toys, everything.  

You will never see your old life again.  



If that were to happen to me, I'd have to check myself into some kind of institution.  Seriously.  It sounds almost like a science fiction movie or an episode of the Twilight Zone.  It's neither.  It's the tragedy that happens when kids get pulled out of their homes and into foster care.  There's nothing good about it.  Not from the kid's perspective, anyway.

I'm not saying there aren't valid reasons.  I'm not saying it shouldn't be done.  Sometimes adults make choices that others have to make right.  The pasts that my three girls lived were far from ideal.  The environments they lived in were unsafe.  They had to get out, even if they didn't think they did.

I just want to take a moment for us to put ourselves in their shoes.  Look around you.  If you're at home, think of those things surrounding you.  A blanket your grandma made, your favorite outfit that fits you just right, your comfy slippers or the book you're halfway through.  How about your favorite cereal bowl or your private journal?  What if you left this morning and were never able to come back?

I imagine it's devastating.



Your new little one may have issues.  If I had to leave everything I'd ever known to live somewhere I'd never been, with people I had never met, I'd have issues too.  One of mine had to do that six times.  I'm not joking.  Six placements.  She had some issues.  "Some" may be an understatement.  

You know her as Ashley.  She's lovely.  Have those crazy placements affected her?  Yes.  Was she able to overcome it?  Yes.  Was it a fast process?  No.   

If you have a child in your home or in your classroom with a past like this, I understand.  The behaviors can be out of control.  You probably don't like her at all.  But take a minute to try to understand her.  Put yourself in her shoes for a minute.  How do they feel?  To her they feel uncomfortable and she doesn't know how to express it.  She's hurting and most of the time, in my experience, that hurt comes out mean.  



I'll be the first one to tell you not to excuse her behavior, but before I say that, I will ask that you try to understand it.  See where she's coming from, think how you'd feel and then deal with her.  Not to feel sorry for her, but to help her overcome it.  For those hard-to-handle kids a little understanding goes a long way.

I couldn't have lived what they lived and come out alive.  These girls are amazing.  They are going to change the world.  They've already changed mine.  Allow them to change your's too.  It'll be for the better.  I just know it.  

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