Friday, February 5, 2016

It Sucks Being a Foster Child....

Dear Teachers of the World:
It's not OK to print out random baby pictures on the Internet and pass them off as students in your class.
If a student does not have a baby picture, for whatever reason, you can either:

a. Not do the project at all.

b. Talk to the student and come up with a mutually agreed-upon solution.

c. Talk to the parents, if the child is in...say...Pre-K and see what they would like.
I went to Little Princess' open house tonight at her preschool. I wrote a few days ago about how I hate when teachers ask for baby pictures of foster children. DCFS does not even have a picture of Little Princess before she was removed from her mom. Her mom doesn't have one, either - I asked. I told the teachers this and they assured me that they "knew what to do". Bad me for not asking what their work-around was.
For the last week, she's been convinced that her teachers have a baby picture of her and - for the last week - I've been telling her that she must be misunderstanding...that none exist and I'm so, so sorry, baby girl. 
So tonight, at Open House, there on the wall for everyone to see, is a "baby picture of Little Princess". It's a random picture from the Internet of a white baby (Little Princess is Hispanic). The baby in the picture is a cute baby, but she's not Little Princess...not even remotely. 
My Little Princess is beautiful and smart and clever. She's feisty and spunky and full of character. She's amazing and cuddly and sweet. She says "I love you" every chance she gets and always has "kissees" for me and her Foster Dad. She sings in the middle of the night and plays her bongos with amazing rhythm early in the morning . She makes up songs when she can't remember lyrics or tunes. Her artwork defies categorization. 
When she "gets bigger", she wants to work at McDonald's while giving people shots in the arm so "they'll feel good". She loves chicken nuggets and tater tots and hates tuna noodle casserole and anything with cheese in it...except pizza or lasagne or mac & cheese. 
She's amazing and wonderful and my heart broke when I saw that her preschool teachers downloaded some random picture and passed it off as her...and she's convinced that it's her in that picture. She's convinced that the white baby with perfect eyes (Little Princess has an eye problem) is her. 
And that's not ok: they placed more importance on a wall of uniform timeline projects using some stupid, silly random picture that is someone else's baby so that my Little Princess could have a project on the wall that looked like everyone else's. They discounted the sweet, wonderful, little five-year-old with the olive skin and the purple glasses that's correcting her lazy eye that was standing directly in front of them.
And that's not ok. 
I'm sorry, but my heart feels shattered.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Starting over in 2016

I've set a yearly writing goal of 100,000 words for 2016. Which means I need to write 275 words a day. Which is harder than I thought thanks to my role as a Foster Mom to two little girls (5&7).

So...I missed my writing goal yesterday. In fact, I didn't write a single word yesterday outside of responding to posts on Facebook. I now have a few choices. I can:

1. Quit and start up again next year.

2. Stomp my feet and cry.

3. Feel bad that I've let myself down.

4. Tell myself that it's ok: I can adjust my word count goal to 99,725 for the year. 

5. Hate or envy my fellow Poe Writers.

6. Feel intimated because Cassie's written over 3,000 words and I've done...1500
7. OR I can tell myself that life gets messy and I need to accept that.

I think I'll choose #7: yesterday I needed to monitor a visit between my foster daughters and their biological mother. She was an hour late: my writing goal turned into feeding the girls and acting as cheerleader. 

Little Princess wanted to write her mom off and go home, but Big Princess needs the contact with her mom. So, we sat in a crappy McDonald's, ate equally crappy food and waited. 

She showed up, finally, and pretty much ignored the girls while complaining about her life to me. Yay.

Little Princess played on the playground or cuddled with me. Big Princess played with mom's phone before playing and I lost the time I intended to read and research England's Parliament (something necessary for my work in progress).

After we got home, I showered off the McDonald's ickiness from the girls. Fed husband and myself. Got the girls to bed with some cuddles and reassurances and then played Hay Day on my iPad until I fell asleep. No writing got done, but I need to feel OK about that.

So here's my internal cheerleader: Be OK with that: I need to identify life's elements that suck up time. If these elements are inflexible, then so be it. Do not compare my word count to the count of others: their life may not contain as many walls and barriers. Avoid feeling bad or intimidated. If I can flex some of these barriers, find a way to do so: you can always catch up on your writing on days without barriers.

The minute my enjoyment of writing ends...take up painting. Writing is suppose to be fun, not a chore.



Not all McDonald's are bad. The one we visit is an armpit. The nice one I found that's clean with nice employees and food that's actually yummy? Too far away from bio mom's home and she actually complained in court that it's not fair that we chose a McDonald's too far away. We are under court orders to go the armpit McDonald's where the staff cannot keep ahead of the clientele. Yeah. She rocks.