Sunday, October 24, 2010

...she returns



"...the most traumatic event in one's life will more times than not, become their mission."


...I was mowing the backyard over the weekend when she returned. A skinny thing, her complexion blanched as if fearing any contact with the sun. The foster girl of twelve requested, and was granted, another weekend visit. This one her third.

From a distance she appeared frail for a young lady approaching teenage status. Upon closing the gap between us however, a smile breached a set of chapped lips, her wiry frame boasting of hidden muscle. To live a day in her shoes, one would realize that most of her strength had nothing to do with the flex of her biceps.

I wrote a post of "the girl" roughly a month ago, a foster child being held under state's custody who's expressed a desire to join my family permanently, and have since been asked by many for an update.

We were granted three more days with her living under our roof. We attended one of her soccer games, watched as she assisted in the matchup's only goal. She revealed to us that she'd been grounded by her current foster parents since her last visit...punishment for a poor grade card, yet worsening an already volatile relationship within the homestead she's resided for the past two years. No outdoor activity, no cell phone, no computer, no communication. This explained her pale complexion, and my wife's inability to contact her through Facebook.

She'd also received harsh criticism for a movie we allowed her to experience the last time she visited. Twilight's New Moon. Rated PG-13. A movie we've let our own children watch countless times, considering it harmless.

As was the result of her past two visits, the weekend became an adventure. And as before, the girl and I shared a conversation upon the Sunday night of her departure. The therapy has increased. Professionals scouring for a reason behind her foster home's dysfunction, pushing pills down her throat like an ice cream in August.

The girl's relationship with her foster dad has never been a positive match, but has worsened since her twelfth birthday. This news haunts me with each passing day. He's a man of strict religious upbringing. Because of this, he expects the same compassion from every member of his household. Even a young lady who's childhood was spent under the tumultuous reign of a mother suffering from a mental disorder. Later deemed incapable of raising her daughter.

My angst dates back more than twenty years, to a time when I found myself living the very same nightmare that I hear from the mouth of this child. My younger years were also disrupted by a parent battling a set of ghosts from within her mind. An ongoing struggle to this day. Also the inspiration behind, "South of Charm," my soon-to-be-released novel.

I see this girl, and I see myself. I see her tears, and I recognize them as my own. She needs help, but not the type she's currently receiving. It's reached the point where unless alternative steps are taken, a dark future looms.

I've sent a lengthy email to our social worker. As foster parents, she's our licensed representation in all matters child-related. The letter was a jumbled mess of feelings, my point to make clear our intent to help this girl, to bring her home if need be.

A response was returned a day later. My email had been forwarded to our worker's boss, every worker in the building, and the girl's social representation as well. Accompanying the news was a one line message..."Thank you for your emotional, yet eloquent input. We'll be in touch."

I have no idea what that means. Sleep now comes a bit easier however, knowing that at least I tried.

Until then, unfortunately, the story continues...

There are those of us who are striving for goals...reaching ever closer to achieving that dream...ultimate recognition. But what of those who see goals as nothing more than glass slippers from a Disney classic...slippers left behind...goals unattainable due to lives held in Purgatory. What about those kids? Who's listening to their goals?

...thanks for reading:)
EL


25 comments:

Colene Murphy said...

Oh my...I hadn't heard about the girl before. This is so sad. Breaks my heart. I really hope she can come to you. Just from this post alone and not knowing anymore about it, it's obvious you love her and can appeal to her in a way she desperately needs someone to relate. Will be thinking about this and hoping good comes both you and her way.

Jules said...

Oh my, is right! We all care about these kids or at least I do but unlike you we often fail to or even know how to act.

I do pray the out come is in her favor. Most of all I pray your letter has not fallen on deaf ears.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

I can't say that I know a lot about the foster system - especially in a country that is not my own - but I known human beings, good and bad. Religious does not mean good and sometimes, not even good at heart. It's sad if that type of home is her only option. It doesn't sound like they take any of her past into consideration.

Donna Hole said...

You and your wife are amazing people El. I totally mean that, I hope you know.

Speaking as a social worker - but NOT for the foster care agency in your region - I'd like to offer some insight on the e-mail response.

If you'd like, e-mail me at donnahole AT gmail DOT com.

Otherwise, my public response is:

Be careful, tread slowly. It is rare for a foster child and a family to mesh so well with a teenager. (Yes, I know you said she is 12, but she seems mature.) The SWr/humanitarian in me wants to see this as an opportunity for you, your family, and this lovely girl.

If your family is comfortable with this child, follow your heart. Don't give up. Like your novel writing, true passion is what is important here. A connection so heartwrenching the character (this girl) feels a part of your everyday existence.

I'm starting to cry now with the possibilities, so its time to leave.

Thanks for you comments on my blogfest.

.......dhole

B.E.T. said...

Oh man...I hope everything works out with this. I mean, if you could adopt her, that would be great. Being in foster care has to suck a ton, I can't imagine it. I mean, what she needs is a stable environment that can help her grow as a person, not hold her back in such a domineering manner, at least by the sounds of it. Good luck with everything and God bless.

rama said...

I pray that you get the right direction from deep within you, and act accordingly. All the best.

L'Aussie said...

This is heart-breaking but all too common I'm sure. Thanks for sharing and caring about this little girl..:)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Follow Donna's suggestions, Elliot. She's within the system. Don't give up on the chance you may snatch the young lady from a dark situation.

Her relationship with you and your family is a tiny nugget of love and warmth she can savor and hold during her storms with that other family.

Thanks for the great comment on my blog, by the way.

aspiring_x said...

i sure hope the letter does some good... i hope she can be placed with you guys!

The Golden Eagle said...

This is so sad. I really hope things work out!

Piedmont Writer said...

You know I've been rooting for you and your family and this little girl for sometime now. My prayers are with all of you in this tumultuous time.

Your heart is in the right place Elliot and God can hear you. I'll bet she's with you before Christmas.

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Oh Elliot, thank you. Thank you for sharing your heart.

My homelife could be awful growing up, but I had one and I am so grateful for that. It kept me out of the system. My heart bleeds and rejoices. How blessed she is to have you two. Passion wins. You will get her. I just know it.

For good measure? I'll say a prayer.

Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me. I've missed you.

that rebel, Olivia

Elliot Grace said...

...I've turned to writing of the girl because it's my form of expression when cornered with no plausible access in sight.
When you've no choice but to wait out decisions made by third parties...decisions which could forever change the foreground of one's life as she struggles onward...running in circles. Being powerless is something I accept with teeth bared.
...and so I write. And you guys read...and offer support, to which I'm forever grateful.
Thanks so much:) I'll be in touch.
EL

Lola Sharp said...

My heart is breaking for her and for you, so I'll keep this quick. I'm sending up good thoughts for all involved. I feel your frustration and your helplessness. I wish I could offer you more.
I care.
And I'm so grateful there are people like you and your wife in this world.

*hugs*
Lola

Crimey said...

Elliot, I had no idea of your fostering experience. Your heart's in the right place, and I sincerely hope this works out for both your family and the child.

The Words Crafter said...

I've been wondering about her since the last post you did. It breaks my heart.

I pray that a resolution is found quickly. And I agree with Roland, listen to Donna. Email her. Get some insider advice. It can't hurt. Keep us posted.

Helen Ginger said...

It's wonderful that your family wants to take her in since it sounds like she's in an untenable situation right now. My guess is she needs stability and love. Hopefully, a decision will be made and she will receive that.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I'm a licensed social worker from Georgia. I've been reading up on your posts regarding "The Girl." While I can only speak for the state which I represent, in most cases I've been involved in, comfortability and happiness plays a major role in the placement of our children. If there's a chance that this poor girl could end up staying with your family, I believe in my heart that your workers will come to an agreement and make it happen. I've enjoyed your stories, and follow your blog regularly. Your writing is inspiring, and I wish you the best!
Natalie

Elliot Grace said...

...thanks again for everyone's support in this matter. We've recently received news that at this time, the powers that be are leaning in our favor...I'll make sure to update any developments:)

EL

Terry Stonecrop said...

I do hope they lean all the way in your favor, Elliot! Fingers crossed and hoping your good hearts win in the end:)

DEZMOND said...

you are an amazing person, Elliot.

Anita said...

Yes, do keep us updated!

Jemi Fraser said...

I missed this post, Elliot. My heart goes out to this little one. She needs some peace. Sending good thoughts and wishes your way.

notesfromnadir said...

I sure hope this girl gets to stay with you and hope that it all works out well for everyone involved.

Adeeva Afsheen said...


Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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