Fostering

Back to School

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”

It’s that time of year again…when some parents rejoice and others have to hold back the tears! I’d have to say I’ve always been somewhat neutral… I enjoy the routine of school days and the rhythm it brings to our weeks, but I also enjoy the freedom and adventures of summer.

This year is the first time in quite a few years that we were caught up in school supply shopping, back to school “meet the teacher barbecues” and picking out that perfect outfit for the first day. My youngest is 20, so school hasn’t been on our radar for a few years and even when it was, it wasn’t a big deal (boys in high school don’t really appreciate “first day of school” fuss.) But with our current kids it was all about the countdown to school and being ready for the big day. So normal…

But… I’m not sure how many other kids had early morning phone calls with their lawyer before heading off to school. The pressure of knowing there is a court proceeding happening that directly impacts their future. Decisions they are being asked to make weighing heavy on their minds as they walk to school and try to be “just like all the other kids”

I read all those school forms with new eyes as I realized what privacy really means and how many parameters have to be put in place to protect these innocent ones. For the first time ever I had to withhold permission for my kids to show up in media. We used to enjoy watching for pictures of our kids in the newspaper and sharing it with everyone when we spotted it! That will not be the case for these two.

So how do we maintain “normal” when special permission is needed for them to do any activities deemed high risk (field trips to go skiing for example) or when they will need to be blurred out on the class photo posted online? In our best intentions of keeping them safe we unwittingly make them stand out as different.

The other mother, whose kids I care for, will never understand the lengths we have gone to trying to protect her kids and hold a place for her in their lives. As we seek to love these kids for whom we care and hope they can be back with their mother someday we inflict our own pain on them.

I wonder what goes on in the”normal” lives of all the other kids that sit in our kids classrooms? How many of them are also dealing with the unexpected, having to carry responsibility that is too big for them, or wondering what they will find when they journey back home at the end of the day. Probably more of them than most of us would dare to guess.

So I hope my kids are kind and reach out and accept the other kids. I hope patience and grace surrounds all of them throughout the school day and I am thankful to have kids who can come home to my house and be heard and seen and loved for who they are!

I am also praying for the teachers who are facing each new day and all it’s challenges as the school year begins! I know they have a huge impact on each child in their class and I pray they will have eyes to see what each child needs and the wisdom and resources to make a difference. Looking forward to the year ahead with all it’s challenges and celebrations!

In the midst of the mess

Marny

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