27th September 2018

speech

                                         A Love That Knows No Borders

This baby you see here she is hooked up to monitors and a breathing tube. This baby’s first worldly experiences, in fact, were withdrawal symptoms and rehab. Her suffering is obvious. Born a drug addict. She was labeled that she was at risk to her own future with the long-term effects of this situation being a higher risk of negative cohabiting experiences like exposed to violence, poor nutrition and continued drug use in her years. All because of her birth mothers addiction and priorities.

So upon her birth she has secreted away into the foster care system it’s interesting at the time of the placement of into foster care she was no longer considered a baby any, she was now called a matter to settle. A matter of complication, a child that will grow with difficulties to learn and focus with ADHD through her childhood also. As innocent as this child was she was judged before she was able to even speak she was labeled as a difficult to place child before she even knew what identity even was.

In this picture, this baby is held in the comfort of her older sister not knowing that she as the older sister soon would have to drop out of school at age 16 to be the carer, a mother of her little sister. Soon will trial for custody of her little sister and then fail to get custody of her. And then lose all contact with her sister for 8 years before this newborn in this photo contacted her again through facebook at the age of 16 with years of questions and answers and a lot of emotion built up. This baby is, in fact, myself and my birth sister before I was put in the care system and forced in and out of homes before placed in the most loving and understanding family I have been a part of for 15 years to date.

At some point I must have told myself my birth mother left because of me, she left as I was too much for her nest. A burden she could not afford on top of her other choices. Be bolder, be brighter I told myself. More trophy in myself. Be more than the stories they could tell of you. I must have told myself not to be anything heavier than a featherweight belief. I became too expectant of the revolving doors for a child always in a full room. I became to rehursed in the art of sucking it up and going alone. I became too tired of these lies I kept allowing to own me.

I simply realized those years were telling me to bloom, And to the mothers that mothered me in the meantime as I practiced finally allowing myself to be cared for. My birth mother birthed a tribe but my mothers in between taught me what worrier looks like. And who knows my father’s knowing, of his longing and his loss. But here’s to my father who whispered: “it’s all going to be okay.” There were men and woman who slipped into me into heart pocket like daughter. There were brothers that passed my own brothers who chose me to protect. There were sisters who passed my own sister who lent me their makeup and taught me how to braid new concepts into a woman.

I am one in 17.8 million children that are in the system around the world. I am one in many kids that has/have or currently being thrown into the emergency care at short notice because there was serious concerns for our safety at home and nowhere safe to go. I am also one in hundreds of kids that has to grow up into the short term care being in and out of homes and involved in different families. We are the foster kids.

By being in the care system I’ve learned that long-term it is mentally and physically damaging for the kids in this system Disturbances make it difficult for children to form the kind of stable attachments that help the healthy social and emotional development. For children of all ages, multiple changes like house changes and different routines in placements often lead to long-term behavior and emotional problems. Frequent moves also contribute to other mental health problems and poor educational achievement. This is all happening to the youth raised in our dysfunctional foster care system?

The outlook on this is grim, given their histories of broken relationships and unstable educational experiences. They are far more likely to become teen parents, be unemployed, and spend their lives in poverty than other young people.

Recent studies have shown that teens exiting the foster care system are prime targets for predators running sex-trafficking. These problems are complex but not without ready solutions. Providing a child with protective agencies with sufficient funding to recruit, train, and support more high-quality foster families would be a good place to start. Children are far less likely to be moved around when placed with foster families who are well prepared to meet their often challenging needs. More aggressive recruitment of adoptive families would help as well. So hiring more social workers to ensure that children are placed in the most appropriate settings and too quick to move children out of foster care and safely return them to their parents or place them with adoptive families.

Overall, the message for your class today is by knowing and identifying the high amount of risks to these kids and teens live in the system we are able to help have a positive look on adoption and foster care in the future and not be ashamed of it. We will only do so only if there is more talk about it all and with sufficient funding to recruit, train, and support everyone involved maybe we will be able to help others in desperate need to get out of the system and into a loving and accepting family they deserve.

I recently been talking to my birth sister and asked for her perspective on why it was important for her to look after me when I was out of the hospital she said “ it was important to look after me as she was worried and unsure what would happen to me in the foster care, she was worried I was going to be placed in a family that didn’t treat me right, my sister was upset when she couldn’t keep me but understood she was age 16 and could not provide the things her and I needed as I was living with her as a newborn and she was 16 no one else in the picture just us two. This broke her that she couldn’t look after me, she went off the rails and fell off track in life, she lost her job, became homeless and was sleeping the streets. Through this she lost contact with me and my foster family, Years of questions were unanswered when I was 16 and I messaged and got the answers I got to ask why she suddenly stopped contact, she told me on a phone call she didn’t want to hurt me, she thought it was the best for me and my family.

She did not want me looking up to her as she was in the worst place in her life, she couldn’t bear to let me down. She told me she was over the moon when I went to my family now that treated as if I was their own. My sister said when I was born it was the best day of her life, not only she had got a little sister she could be best friends with for life but the simple fact she was able to shop for me with the money she had earnt at work making sure I had the best that she could buy. Now she is in the best place in her life, living in Australia with her partner of 8 years and two gorgeous little girls. My mother now Tanya ensured my sister she would do the best job raising me as she possibly could, she promised to keep me safe and love me forever. She has kept her promise.

                  A Love That Knows No Borders 

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