Friday, November 6, 2009

Change - of Course

It is Friday, so click the link here or the button on my sidebar and head over to DadBlogs to read some wonderful blogs.

Speaking of DadBlogs, I recently (5 minutes ago) read a blog there about whether or not becoming a parent changes your views. It started me thinking rusty machinery that it is. I responded in a decidedly ambiguous manner. But I was changed, forever and markedly by a child. Only he wasn't mine.

While in high school my dad and step mom became foster parents to Joey. He was a tiny thing whose mother was in an institution and father was also institutionalized. Joey was the first foster child in my life. Here I was a high school snot who put herself above most other objects and on a visit to my dad's I meet this little guy. Having nephews & a niece whom I adored, I knew I loved kids. I had been looking forward to a visit with a baby to keep me busy and entertained. But, Joey was different. He was adrift. I adored him.

Over 3 years Joey came and went. He went to his mother when she was well and came back to my dad's when she went crazy. When he was with her my dad and stepmom would babysit and bring her clothes, food, and take her to file for benefits. Because they couldn't just leave Joey. I had conversations on the phone with her, I had seen pictures - she was the mother. She was insane.

Everyone became attached to Joey. He was simply part of our family, my brother. My father would joke that being a foster father is easy "because men become attached after a child is born." Joey was loved.

After these years and many ordeals, that would fill a book. Joey was murdered by his mother. She hung him in the kitchen.

I have no idea what he felt or thought. I imagine that there were angels there to shield and protect him. I hope there were.

This precious little life who would run through the park and say "fick it daddy" every time his radio turned off. The innocent boy who would believe that electronics were sleeping so that we could have some peace with dinner. He was gone. Everyday that fact is with me.

The effects were numerous. My father was changed, there was tragedy and ruin in his eyes. My step-mother threw herself into changing the laws to protect children. The mother was imprisoned and my father went to court to ask for life instead of the death penalty. She was insane. I became an advocate for children. I worked in prevention and education. I made DCF calls on parents and with teens who were abused. I tried to teach parents how to play, care for, and respect their children. Honestly I can't say that I would have made these choices if not for my experience. Life is experience wonderful and terrible and it is the experiences we face that shape who we are and who we become. So, yes - children change us..


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  2. Oh, my. That was beautiful and sad -completely heartbreaking and full of hope.

  3. Wow! What a heartbreaking event that changed your lives. So sad that our laws don't do enough to protect our children. That you and your family were able to take positive actions from this experience, speaks volumes about your character!

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. i'm sorry you had to go through that awful experience, but i guess if it helped make you the person you are then that's a silver lining to such a horrible thing. i guess. i don't know it still seems horrible and somehow wrong for me to even say that, but i think you know what i'm trying to say (however pathetic my attempt is).


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