Someone I love dearly in conversation today said I rescued my children.
And that little old sentence has been rolling around in my head ever since.
That's how I write.
Something rumbles around and percolates and then I have to sit down and write it out. It's like words begging to be formed.
But back to the point.
Did I rescue my children?
And why does that phrase strike such a cord with me.
Here's the facts as I see them.
My two oldest children are adopted.
The system failed them in every sense of the word.
And now I get paid to parent them.
My friend Melinda and I were talking about this last week. From the research we could find, it costs Children's Aid societies on average about $50,000 a year for a child in care.
I wonder what it costs to send a mom to rehab.
To pay for schooling of a low-income father.
To provide adequate housing for that kicked out teen mom.
You see I didn't rescue my children.
And the reason that I have a problem with that phrase is because it makes me the hero of their story.
They were the damsels in distress and I swooped in and saved them. We do love a good hero don't we?
But the truth is, I'm far from a hero.
I have messed up.
I have made mistakes.
I shouldn't be parenting them.
Their parents should be.
Kids deserve to be raised by their parents.
Because of a broken system, they experienced devastating and lifelong impacting loss. And that loss is traumatic. It was traumatic at the time of removal and it's still traumatic.
They are the heroes in this story.
Because they kept going.
Because they were brave enough to learn to love again.
Because they had to live through the pain that was their life.
And then watch someone whose mediocre at being a mom at best, be praised and exalted as a hero.
I'm tired of saying we have a broken system.
I'm tired of not knowing what to say when someone remarks about our so called hero status as foster and adoptive parents.
It's easy to believe we can't bring much change or that it's too big of a mountain to move. So we sit idly by as kids and families are broken apart.
What if we start dismantling the heroine act?
We stood up and gave a voice to our kids who are hurting. We recognized the loss they experienced. And we started to fight like hell for the families that could be pieced back together.
Every single successful mountain climb began with one small step.