in soooo many ways.
From 1989 to 1995, Stan and I opened our home and our hearts to foster children. Kids from all over the state of Kansas lived with us. During that time, we met some of the best people out there. Each one held very sad memories in their souls. Each person was different. They may have endured and survived the exact same types of abuse as the next foster child, but each was different. They handled their abuse in different ways. While one wanted to go out and punish the world for what had been done to him/her, the next one was determined to move forward and make a better life for their future children. Some had absolutely no support from their natural families while others were in contact with grandparents, uncles, aunts, siblings, etc. Most of the parents were willing to change so that they could get their children back. Others didn't care.
The thing that most of us don't know, or should I say, don't want to know, is that parents out there dish out a battery of various types of abuse. Here they are:
I remember one of the social workers whom we worked with, told me one day that in most cases, only one type of abuse is evident. In one family whom we helped, every last kind of abuse was the name of the game.
Each parent physically abused each child.
Both parents beat on each other.
Both parents told each of the children that they were stupid, lazy, mattered for nothing, was ugly...
Though the parents had enough money to at least purchase a small gift for birthdays and Christmas, they chose not to. Instead, the children dreaded birthdays because no treats were ever taken by the parents to school with their child's classmates. No birthday parties were ever held. And probably worse that all of that, the kids dreaded going back to school after Christmas because show and tell would take place. Everyone else had gifts to boast about but that child had nothing. This was one of the biggest reasons that I had created Christmas Children.
These particular parents were not guilty of sexual abuse. One of their sons dealt that out.
I could go on and on about the tragedies that foster children live but I am sure that you already get the point. Chances are that, at one point or another, you have known at least one foster child in your lifetime.
This week, CBS's BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL is spotlighting the obstacles that current and past foster children face in their lives. They've even asked real foster children to come onto the show and describe what abuse has done to them individually. I thank the backbone of B and B for doing this. Please watch these episodes this week so that you can be more educated on this matter and learn how you can help. I even learned that 2/3 of all foster kids grow up and end up in jail. One family we helped consisted of 8 children. Out of those kids, 3 of them went to prison. One is still there. Out of the other five, only one has gone on to lead a "normal" live. That person had to leave his/her hometown and go somewhere where he/she could start all over. That same person has managed to be quite successful. Though this person went through 2 unsuccessful marriages, he is very happy with his third and is raising a couple of children in a loving, caring and abuse-free home. The others struggle each and every day in one way or another. It is so, so sad...
We can help foster children from around the nation by going to the following website that THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL recommended to see how.
Go there and read. You'll be in for an eye-opening experience.
On that website, you can
1. Make a donation to help.
2. Learn of upcoming charity events.
3. Purchase Christmas gift cards for current foster children. Some of them won't be getting anything without our help.
4. Find out how your company can become involved.
These are just a very few things that we can do. I urge you to go to the website and check it out for yourself.
I also recommend that you consider becoming a foster parent. You don't have to be wealthy or have a fancy home in order to do this. As a matter-of-fact, foster parents are given an allowance which is to be used for the food, clothing, etc that your foster child will need while in your care. Most importantly, this is your chance to reach out and connect with someone who really needs your love and support. In some cases such as ours, foster children go up for adoption. Maybe you can make your foster child a legal and permanent member of your family.
I think that I've said enough. I kicked the ball to you. Now it is up to you to decide what to do with it next.