Covid-19 · Fostering · Parenting

Entitled

I got to visit San Francisco twice. Once on a road trip where my girlfriend and I drove from Seattle to San Francisco, and once on a Mother/Daughter trip with my mom and and 2 sisters. Both times were enjoyable and I highly recommend San Francisco as a great place to visit.

We did all the typical touristy things including visiting Alcatraz.

I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did! I mean, touring a decommissioned prison shouldn’t be a trip highlight right?! My hubby and son would both love to see it, for different reasons. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to visit there with them yet! I hope we get to travel again after Covid-19 loses it’s stranglehold on the world.

One of the things that struck me was the regulations which were posted. There were a lot of them! You could buy a lot of them on t-shirts, postcards and magnets. In spite of being a prison there were very clear guidelines as to what you were entitled to, what behaviours were acceptable and what the consequences were if you broke the rules. I like clear guidelines.

We weren’t foster parents at the time, but we had a young man staying with us who had been discovered sneaking into someone’s garage to sleep at night because it was getting cold. He no longer felt welcome in his home and was doing the best he could to survive. A school counsellor became aware of his situation and started looking for a solution for him. He “interviewed” us at the school when we offered to give him a home until he was on his feet.

He hesitantly came to stay and we tried to include him in our family. I wish I had the training we have now… we would have understood the trauma he had come through better and been able to do more for him.

So regulation #5 jumped off the wall when I was in Alcatraz

You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter and medical attention. ANYTHING ELSE YOU GET IS A PRIVILEGE.

U.S.P. Alcatraz, Institution rules and regulations

Everyone laughs when they see it and the focus is on the last line about privileges!

What struck me was that even in a prison you are entitled to your basic needs!!

Foster Care exists because there are many kids who don’t have their basic needs met. Neglect and abuse go hand in hand and these kids deal with the trauma for the rest of their lives.

We are so glad that we can provide food, clothing, shelter and medical attention for the children of the other mother in this season. They had gone without food or eaten nothing but 7Eleven pizza for days(she won’t eat pizza still). They came to us with one set of clothes that didn’t fit properly. They had been walking the streets for days and sleeping in shelters. They hadn’t been to a dentist, doctor or optometrist in years.

We take the basics for granted. These are easy for us to offer.

We even had privileges!! Not only was there food, they had a say in what they ate and there was lots of it! They ate turkey sandwiches for lunch everyday for months with great enthusiasm. Not only was there clothes, they got to pick out their own. She wanted nothing pink and he was thrilled to have hoodies. Not only was there shelter but they each had their own bedroom and the choice of what went in it. She was underweight, he needed glasses.

So much we take for granted.

We were happy back then to offer a young man a place to stay while he finished high school. We could supply food, clothing, shelter and medical attention. I believe it made a difference for him. We didn’t do it well, but we did it with what we knew then.

We are happy to offer these basics to kids now as a foster home. To them, what we consider basic is indeed a privilege.

The privilege on top of all that is getting to watch them grow in confidence and believe that they can have the privileges too. It doesn’t end at the basics!

As we near the second anniversary of having these two join our family I reflect back on all that has changed and I think we have been blessed beyond measure while trying to supply the basics!

In the midst of the mess

Marny

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