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You’re Number … Two?

2011 November 28


“You will always be second best,” Roy told me. “A kid would rather be sitting in an empty apartment next to their drugged out parent than next to you on a couch in your house.”

Roy knows what he’s talking about; a foster parent for 38 years, he and his wife have seen and accepted it all. He’s one of the people I talked to early on in the process.

What Roy told me was sobering, but it made sense. Familial relationships are complex, but in a way very simple. We can pick our friends, but we can’t pick our families, and as bad as things can be that’s still their mom or dad out there.

Many of the stories we’d heard in class illustrated this point perfectly.

One of these case studies was about a little girl who I’ll call Amy. She had been to several homes until she found the right one: A loving home with other children and two foster parents who knew what they were doing.

Amy had been “a problem everywhere she went” but in this home she turned into an honor student. She kept this up into high school; blossoming into a very nice young lady.

Because of past problems, visitations with her mother had to be done at the agency office. Amy dresses up and travels more than an hour for these visits. Sometimes her mother shows up and upsets her. Other times, her mother doesn’t show up and when she’s called tells the social worker she’s busy and she will see Amy next time.

Still, when the next visit comes around, this young lady will get dressed up and travel the hour and a half to see her mother. That’s her family. For Amy, her mother is number one.

Being number two may not sound all that thrilling. After all, no one remembers who came in second.

Well, almost never. Neil Armstrong was the first man to step onto the moon. Buzz Aldrin was then second. I saw the moon landing on television while it was happening.

Aldrin might have been second. But hey, he made it to the moon!

Maybe being number two isn’t so bad after all.

Photo: “Foam Finger” by Jeff Williamson

3 Responses leave one →
  1. November 30, 2011

    There’s this little girl that lives down the street from me. She’s 7 years old. She started coming over last year. She’s a lost little girl. She lives with her dad. Her mom lives in another state. They were never married. She doesn’t get a whole lot of attention at home so she comes here a LOT. I’m not a foster parent, just a neighbor who lives down the street. Even though she’s sad and lonely, she loves her mom and dad. She wants from them what they are not giving her so she tries to get it from me which I can’t really provide. Even though she is not getting from them what she has every right to receive from her parents, she loves them.


    • November 30, 2011

      Hey Blog Lady T 🙂

      Thank you for sharing that. I think many of us can relate to that.

      What you’re doing for her, just by being welcoming, is important to her. And that you keep the right perspective is a great example for all of us.


  2. November 30, 2011

    This is why you never saying anything negative about their parents, or agree when the child does.

    I’d said this yesterday to my friend Peggy, who has worked with children, and she pointed out that if you do the child will “turn on you in a heartbeat”.

    Just think of two brothers who are always fighting with each other, then a third party enters and begins picking on the younger brother. What happens?

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