Monday, August 6, 2012

Who holds their history?

Those of us who come from a home where the same people; whether it was our parents, grandparents, or aunts and uncles, have raised us from birth... we have absolutely no concept of what it is like to look back on our own life history riddled with holes and gaps that leave one guessing about who they truly are. This is simply one problem that comes from being raised in the system.

My family (especially my mom) likes to laugh about how I remember things. The memories I have from when I was a kid are very real, but my mom swears up and down that things just didn't happen that way. I still think I'm right, but I guess a stalemate is always awarded in favor of the oldest, right? ;)  However, imagine that you were born and lived with your birth mother and older brother for a while, then you were taken out of your mom's home and placed into foster care. Your mom is no longer the keeper of your memories. And you were only a baby... you can't remember what you looked like, the experiences you had... and what about your health history?? After finally being reunited with mom, you were again taken away and put back into care. Only this time, you stayed in the system for well over a year, living in four different homes within that time period. Each family that cared for you has a piece of your puzzle, but actually being able to gather that information later is, for the most part, impossible.

Just the thought of this impossible chore makes my stomach turn into knots. I had an experience today that made me truly appreciate having a mom and dad who are keepers of my history, and made me mourn for those who are not able to say the same. I sat in a doctor's office today filling out a form for my little man. The majority of the questions were pertaining to the here and now, which I can easily fill out. I came to a page that stumped me, though... Every question was about the child before the age of 3. Well, I can't answer those questions, for I was not there. I am quite blessed in this situation to be able to call bio-mom and ask her the questions, for which she was able to answer most. What about the ones who can't do that? What will happen when I am caring for a child who is in their fifth foster home at the age of three? Who will answer the questions then?

My heart breaks for these children who, not only are having the "present day" of all that is familiar ripped away from them, but in the process, they are also losing their history.

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