As you know, my husband and I spent almost eight years as licensed foster parents and adopted our five children from the foster care system. What you may not know is that prior to adopting any of our children, we had a placement of three siblings who did not end up staying with us (not by our choice).
Even if you’ve never had personal experience with foster care, you’ve probably seen or heard the garbage bag cliche: the idea that children in foster care haul their belongings from one place to another in a garbage bag. The truth is, this isn’t just a cliche; it’s reality for most of the children in foster care. Because of confidentiality, I cannot get into details of that first placement of ours, but when the first two children of the three-sibling group came to us, they had only a garbage bag. And the items that were in it were of little to no use to them. (Mis-matched clothes, filthy toys, no diapers or formula for the baby, etc.) Literally all they had were the clothes on their backs (Baby wasn’t even wearing shoes), and literally a bag of garbage. A garbage bag of garbage. My heart broke for these poor, sweet, precious souls who at infancy and three years old, were already being treated like they were worthless. I fought back tears as the caseworker shared what she could, handing me the baby and apologizing that she had no idea what kind of formula he took, and seeing the three year old cling to me almost immediately.
This situation is more common than not. When my babies were moved from our home, I made sure their (many!) things were packed with care into moving boxes, and their clothes were put into duffle bags. But much of the time, for whatever reasons, this doesn’t happen.
My friend and fellow foster parent, Miranda Rochol, has recently started the foundation Bags For The Kids, whose mission is to provide duffle bags and suitcases to children in foster care, so that they have something to call their own, to carry belongings with them. The foundation also provides some basic necessities for kids who don’t have what they need when coming into care.
You may or may not know, but November is, among other things, National Adoption Month. Today, we celebrate our youngest child’s Adoption Day. In honor of her, as well as our other children and all adopted and foster children, all profits from the sales of my book To Have a Family (second edition only), from November 25th to November 30th, will go to provide bags for children in foster care, through Bags For The Kids. These bags will be donated toward their 2016 goal of 1,000 bags!
You can buy signed copies of To Have a Family here (if you are local to me, contact me for a coupon code to remove shipping costs), and it is also available through Amazon, in paperback and for Kindle, and for Nook. If you belong to Smashwords, you can find that ebook version here.
Happy Reading, and thanks in advance for supporting this amazing foundation! I can’t wait to see all the goals they accomplish for The Kids in 2016!
Please help by sharing this post!