Back in the early days of my blogging I seem to recall a moment where I admitted that I would never adopt or foster a kid. I’m not cold-hearted, I just knew me. I knew me at a time when I was a difficult person to live with because I hated being adopted. I knew me at a time when I couldn’t separate my reality from what I always wanted. I wanted a white-picket fence life with a dog and two parents who looked like me. My world was surrounded by diversity yet still had me feeling all alone. Now, I am a visible minority and have never felt so alike. I guess that is what maturity does to you or perhaps, realizing the bigger picture.
In a short summary, for a time, because I knew me, I knew I never wanted to adopt another “me”. I didn’t want the questions that come with having been adopted, I also didn’t want the reality that when I went looking, my biological parents were just a name on a sheet of paper. I remember the breakdowns and the angry spells. There was madness and frustration in this world that I didn’t get to choose what happened to my future as person in a blended family. I didn’t have the privilege of knowing everything about who I was, unlike others. It was for that reason that I chose and decided (although never had “family” on my mind), that I didn’t want my future children to go through the same thing. Bluntly put, I didn’t want to do deal with it-someone else could.
A lot has changed since then. Somehow no matter how hard I try to avoid it, I attract kids with baggage. I attract mini-me’s. For some reason despite not knowing the answers to every complicated situation I seem to enjoy finding the solution. The other day I became so in depth with what I was doing that I looked up “Requirements to be a Foster Parent”. Didn’t even blink, didn’t even question. My white-picket fence dream life is on a serious overhaul. I thought, this world has so many children. It has so many spoiled, bratty, self-centred children raised by parents who expect the same. It has so many underprivileged, sad, hopeless children raised by parents who live the same. Sometimes the combinations mix and that’s when you get the champion out of the woodwork. But what about those who will never see that “other” side? What about those who are products of their environment to a tee? This includes the spoiled ones but its sadness is equal to its counterpart.
Something I wish people knew more about mini-me’s is this: Sometimes having this back story that is not all picket-fence and doting Grandmas makes you grow up a little faster than those around you. It doesn’t mean we’re incapable of loving or caring, it just means we prioritize. If you met me at first glance you would think I am a dictator of children. The reality is, and I wish this didn’t overtake so much, I was raised to be diligent and obedient (although I stray from this one a little). The way that I am has no time for a child who is wild or goes outside of this. I’m working on it, I promise. But I love the kids who are roughed up, who ask for love in the most unloving ways and those who just are looking for “something” that can’t be bought but has to be instilled. Sometimes I like to think that my style and brain gears more towards them because we expect a lot from each other mutually both of sheer stubbornness but also because we want to see if we’re both strong enough to see it through. Somehow this mentality ends up being characteristics of foster kids. Survival of the bravest. I love brave people but most importantly I love helping people be brave.
Sitting on a pool deck today, many wondered why this little boy came on the field trip even though he can’t swim and hates getting wet. I sat around the pool, legs crossed, ready to supervise the chaos. With a quick gesture of his fingers I find myself the human lazy-boy to a 4-year old who proceeds to size up his hands with mine as he sits on my lap. He is intrigued by the camera on my phone and Pokemon Go. He is captivated by my sparkly watch and gestures that it is 3 o’clock after telling him to look at where the little hand is. He is 4. For a moment he is like any other kid with gadgets and gizmos. Suddenly these things get put down (onto the wet surface I might add…but I’m ruining the moment…sorry). These things get put down and suddenly this little body curls up into a ball and he nuzzles his head into my neck. And we just sit there. In amidst the chaos that is a public, outdoor swimming pool, he chose this moment to steal my heart. I was never meant for the picket fence life. My heart, inspired.