I never really knew what a foster child until I met one. I first met him when he was around 5 years old. I didn’t know he was a foster child until I heard from my daughter and a school staff that he was. I didn’t know that the lady who always brought him to school, who looked lovingly at him, who the boy always hugged with happiness and pride everytime she picks him up from school, who always was there for the parent teacher meetings, was actually his foster mother from the time he was a baby. I was filled with awe at this woman who obviously loved this boy who was not biologically hers. And I felt a sense of sadness upon learning that there are a lot of foster children. Sadness because I learned that foster children may be taken away anytime from a foster parent. Sort of like being adopted on a temporary basis. Sadness because these children have uncertain futures. Sadness because these children could be transferred from one foster family to another whether they like it or not. Sadness because again, children have no choice. How unfair life is to these children.
The foster mother’s husband worked in the school as a bus driver and this couple are known to have fostered many children. In the months that passed, I have learned this information, and I have learned as well that this foster boy has a brother and a sister, both are living with him in the same foster parents’ home. My daughter once asked me what a foster child was, perhaps after learning that her classmate is one. Then one day she said that her classmate said that his real mother is in jail for “smoking”.
Two years later, he was still in the same school and again was my daughter’s classmate. In the book week parade, he was one of those who didn’t wear a costume. This would be the first of about a couple of years of school parades where he won’t wear a costume. This year, I have learned that he had to live with a new foster family because his foster father was diagnosed with cancer, and his foster mother had to look after him. It was a sad year for him I know, because he had formed a bond with his foster parents — having been raised by the couple since he was a baby. It was during this time that I noticed him starting to wear a worried look on his face. It is heart breaking to imagine how he is feeling. Uncertain. Afraid. Lonely.
I made it a point to say hi to him everytime I am in school and to ask how he is doing. He said he is okay and happy with the new family. My daughter mentioned that his old foster mother visited him one time with a birthday cake and he was so happy to see her he hugged her tightly. One day my daughter said he told her and their other classmates that his old foster parents are no longer allowed to see him. True or not, I don’t know but I can only surmise that it could be true, maybe so that he can focus on settling with the new family he lives with.
I love crochet and I made a library bag for my daughter, who loved it. He saw it and asked if he could have one and without hesitation I made him one and my daughter gave it to him the following day. He was so happy when he received it, said my daughter, and he used it in school all the time.
One day my daughter said that his sister has to live with a different foster family. I don’t know why. Foster parenting laws are still unclear to me. Sigh. Another sad day for him.
Nearing the end of school year, the school was giving away a lot of school jumpers that were not labelled and unclaimed from the Lost Box. I took advantage and grabbed one for him — just in case he needed one. The look of gratitude on his face was priceless.
The year after that, he was begging me to include him in my daughter’s birthday party. I couldn’t because it was a girls only party. I hope he had been invited to at least one of the boy classmates’ birthday parties. He did have friends but he had started to be quite loud and that worried look on his face seemed to be more often displayed. One time he said that he is upset with his brother because his brother is always bragging that his dad is bigger than his dad. Didn’t know they had different dads.
The year after that I didn’t see him that much because as senior primary students, the children were being taught to be a bit more independent so there was not much chance for parents to be around them when we bring them to, or pick them up, from school.
This year, he was no longer in the same school. I pray that he is in a happy family, whether his biological family, or foster family. I hope that one day I will hear something nice about him — like that foster girl who has a very nice singing voice who entered one of the competitions on TV and win. I hope things work out for him and I pray he continues to be strong.
- Posted in: Time to reflect