Holidays usually arrive with fanfare. Plans are made, shared and canceled. Sentimental quotes about loving one’s family are plastered throughout social media (usually by people who post too many pictures of their grandkids anyway).
On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, something special happens in America—something even bigger than football or pre-pre-black Friday sales.
Across the country, hundreds of adults and children gather. Courtrooms are opened. Judges, lawyers and social workers set to work. By the end of the day, hundreds of new families walk out of the doors, and thousands of children waiting in foster care now have a permanent family of their own.
If you don’t know already, migraines are
awful, no good, very bad things.
The head pain alone feels like an entire construction crew is in your skull. Someone is jackhammering, another person is slicing with a circular saw, and someone else decides to tighten vices on your cranium. It is definitely not something that brings the words “serenity” and “joy” to mind.
I was barely a teenager when my family began taking in foster children— and it changed my life. I had a front-row seat to the foster care system in all of its successes, failures, and realities. During my teen years, I rocked many babies to sleep, helped toddlers take their first steps, and played board games with my foster siblings.
While being a foster family had positive aspects, it also had difficult parts. Children came from tough situations and had sad stories. Our family sacrificed many of our own wants in order to provide for foster children’s needs. It was hard.
Have you ever been to a final adoption hearing?
An adoption day is full of paradoxical emotions. At least it is for me. I have been to two adoption finalization hearings (both times I got new siblings). I am soon going to another (to get more siblings). The day my family officially adopted my brother and sister from foster care, I had two thoughts:
The week before I turned 13 years old, my little brother was stillborn.
That year I learned a lot about grief. Every moment of life was suddenly precious. I learned to take grief moment by moment. As I began to see little bits of good in life again, I wondered if there was a beauty to life, a quiet beauty, that I had never observed before.
Now that it is the end of September, you hopefully know what FASD stands for. (Not sure? Read this.) FASD Awareness month is about more than an acronym though. Raising awareness is the first step to increasing support for individuals with FASD and their families.